|Breathe Easy – We’re Now Tobacco Free
As a health-care institution that focuses on improving well-being, Calais Regional Hospital is proud to be completely tobacco-free. The tobacco-free status applies to all hospital buildings, physician offices, parking lots and property that make up the hospital campus.
Smoking and tobacco use is clearly harmful to everyone's health and is the #1 preventable health risk in our society according to Dr. Dora Anne Mills, the State Health Officer. It is a health risk that comes at a considerable cost as well. The annual health care cost in Maine directly caused by smoking is $602 million, $216 million of which is covered by the State Medicaid program. Major conclusions from the 2006 Surgeon General’s Report: “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke”
CRH has an obligation to the community to address this issue and ensure a healthy environment for our patients, visitors and healthcare providers.
“Hospitals are a vital and central part of a healthy community and should model healthy behaviors for community members,” stated Michael K. Lally, CRH CEO. In the past few years, many hospitals across the nation have implemented smoke-free campuses to show a commitment to provide a place of wellness and prevention, as well as treatment. According to the Maine Hospital Association, CRH is now one of twenty seven hospitals in the State of Maine to have a tobacco free campus.
We are asking for your support and adherence in our tobacco-free initiative. “Our decision to go tobacco-free is not an attempt to “force” anyone to quit smoking,” stated Linda Gralenski, CRH Board Chair. “Rather, the tobacco-free initiative is a concrete way we can demonstrate our ongoing commitment to healthy living. We do respect the right of individuals who choose to use tobacco, but we ask that they respect our decision to provide a tobacco free environment.”
To commemorate the new Tobacco Free Campus Policy, the Registered Nurses Professional Practice Committee requested to plant a tree near the former designated smoking area. The tree was provided by the CRH Tobacco Free Campus committee and the staff participated in a brief ceremony to recognize CRH’s establishment of a tobacco free campus.
The Calais Regional Hospital Board of Directors voted to make CRH a tobacco free campus in August 2008. The announcement was shared immediately and work began to address the smoking cessation needs before implementation of the policy. As health care professionals, we recognize the challenges facing those who wish to quit and those who will simply abstain while on the premises. An ad hoc Tobacco Free Campus committee was established with a membership of smokers and non-smokers, clinical and non-clinical and management and non-management. The committee developed the policy approved by the board and developed procedures for dealing with patient, employee and visitor issues.