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Greater Cincinnati Hospitals Collectively To Adopt Tobacco-Free Campuses in January


Friday, July 14, 2006

On January 1, 2007, 20 hospitals in the Greater Cincinnati region will take a collective leadership role in improving the health of their communities by making their entire campuses tobacco-free.

"Health care organizations have a responsibility to eliminate health hazards and promote healthy lifestyle choices," said Lynn R. Olman, Greater Cincinnati Health Council president. By initiating a tobacco-free policy, hospitals will be protecting the community, staff, patients, families and guests from the harmful effects of tobacco use. Hospitals are proud to come into this change both voluntarily and collectively." All forms of tobacco products will be restricted from use on hospital campuses.

"We're particularly proud that these hospitals have joined together in their efforts to go tobacco-free," said Olman. "There are not many large coalitions of hospitals that have been able to take this action at the same time, but our hope is that this collective approach will help minimize confusion for hospital patients and visitors as well as focus attention on resources available to those who want to stop using tobacco."

The tobacco-free area will extend to all property owned by the hospital, indoors or outside. This policy will apply to all staff, patients, visitors, guests, vendors, volunteers, contractual workers and the general public.

"We are working closely with our hospital leadership and their thousands of employees as well as with the entire community to minimize any inconvenience to anyone on a hospital campus," Olman said.

"We want the community to know of our policy change at this early date so that those working in or visiting a hospital campus, as well as those receiving hospital services, have time to adequately prepare."

Greater Cincinnati hospitals and health systems that have committed to implement a tobacco-free policy by January 1, 2007 include Adams County Hospital*, Brown County Regional HealthCare, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Dearborn County Hospital, The Christ Hospital, Drake Center, The Fort Hamilton Hospital, The Jewish Hospital, The University Hospital, Margaret Mary Community Hospital, McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, Mercy Hospital Anderson, Mercy Hospital Clermont, Mercy Hospital Fairfield, Mercy Hospital Mt. Airy, Mercy Hospital Western Hills, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Cincinnati Burns Hospital, Bethesda North Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital and Middletown Regional Hospital.
*Policy begins September 2006.

Education and assistance will be provided by all hospitals implementing tobacco-free policies. Employees and patients will be provided with cessation support and options for how to handle their addiction. Although it will not be required for employees to quit smoking, each hospital will be available if help is needed. Examples of hospital programs available to help tobacco-users include telephone counseling through the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line and the American Cancer Society Quit Line. Additional information on cessation programs is available by contacting Colleen Allen at the Greater Cincinnati Health Council (513-531-0267).

Tobacco-free policies provide a healthy environment for everyone involved with hospital care. Studies show that it is also more likely that a person will have a successful quit attempt if their employer enacts a tobacco-free policy. A tobacco-free workplace is consistent with the mission of all health care institutions, in that it works to improve the overall health of the community that it serves. It is especially important for hospitals to promote tobacco-free campuses, since tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, tobacco use contributes to the leading causes of death, patients who smoke regularly before surgery have twice the risk of wound infection, smoking retards wound healing, a smoker's bones take nearly twice as long to heal as a non-smoker's, secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals of which 50 are known carcinogens, among other reasons.

Individuals with questions about the implementation of this policy are asked to call their area hospital for more information.

About the Greater Cincinnati Health Council

The Greater Cincinnati Health Council works in harmony with Tristate hospitals and other health providers to promote high quality, cost-effective health care in the community. Since 1957, the Council has represented hospitals in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana. The Council is a recognized resource for information about area hospitals and the complex issues facing the health care industry.

About Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children's is a 475-bed institution devoted to bringing the world the joy of healthier kids. Cincinnati Children's is dedicated to transforming the way health care is delivered by providing care that is timely, efficient, effective, family-centered, equitable and safe. It ranks third nationally among all pediatric centers in research grants from the National Institutes of Health. The Cincinnati Children's vision is to be the leader in improving child health.

Web Editor's Note: In August 2006, Middletown Regional Hospital joined other Greater Cincinnati hospitals who are making their campuses tobacco-free in 2007, bringing the total number of hospitals to 20.

Updated August 24, 2006

Contact Information

Colleen Allen, Greater Cincinnati Health Council, 513-531-0267, callen@gchc.org