On November 20, 2008, the Southern Region of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System will mark the 32nd anniversary of the Great American Smokeout by becoming smoke-free campus-wide. This means smoking will not be allowed inside, outside or on any grounds of a Saint Barnabas Health Care System southern region facility.
The campuses that will become smoke-free include Community Medical Center in Toms River, Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, the Saint Barnabas Behavioral Health Center in Toms River, the Saint Barnabas System Business Office in Oceanport; as well as all other satellite offices and facilities of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System located in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The System's northern campuses will follow in 2009 as the second phase of the initiative.
Connie Greene, director of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System's Institute for Prevention, said going smoke-free on all southern campuses not only promotes good health and a healthy environment, but is essential to foster the sense of health and healing that exists at hospitals and health care facilities.
"The Saint Barnabas Health Care System is embarking on this important initiative to ensure a healthy smoke-free environment for patients and their families, employees and physicians. As many restaurants, businesses and educational institutions have adopted smoke-free initiatives, hospitals and health care systems across the nation are doing so as well. Going smoke-free campus-wide takes our commitment just one step further."
In fact, the first hospital to go smoke-free was the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota which kicked the habit in 1987. Over the past decades, more cities and states have passed legislation against smoking in different areas, and hospitals have followed suit.
Greene added, "The Saint Barnabas Health Care System is committed to the creation and maintenance of a healthy workplace for all. Becoming a tobacco-free workplace is a critical part of that commitment."
The Saint Barnabas facilities statewide are smoke-free indoors. This new initiative will make smoking prohibited both indoors and outdoors on all properties owned and operated by the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, including parking areas.
Greene explained an important component of the smoke-free campus initiative is helping employees, patients and family members quit the habit for good.
"We are offering tobacco treatment through our Tobacco Dependence Treatment Program to both employees and the public," she said. "Employees can take advantage of quite meetings offered at every one of our locations with flexible times to accommodate different shifts. Treatment services are also available to the public through a comprehensive eight-week program."
The Tobacco Dependence Treatment Program is funded by a grant from the New Jersey Department of Health & Services Office of Epidemiology. It is the only program in the region funded by the state to help people quit smoking.
The program consists of individual tobacco assessments for every participant. After the assessment, participants work with a Tobacco Treatment Specialist to create a treatment plan best suited to that individual's needs, including the eight-week quit program. Participants have access to Nicotine Replacement Therapy (nicotine patches, gum, lozenges) at a discounted rate. Prescription medications can also be prescribed.
Leading up to the November 20th date, the System will provide education and information to families and patients during pre-registration and upon registration clearly stating the no-smoking on campus policy. Greene said, "We will also give our staff tools and educational materials to help remind fellow employees, visitors and patients to observe our policy."
Greene said patients will be able to request Nicotine Replacement Therapy to assist with their comfort while they are hospitalized.
"We know quitting smoking is a difficult thing to do," Greene said. "But we have established a comprehensive program for patients, employees and visitors to our facility to help beat their addiction to nicotine. We acknowledge that going smoke-free on our campuses will be a transition for everyone to get used to, but in the end, it's just the right thing to do."
For more information on the Tobacco Dependence Treatment Program, call (732) 914-1688, email email@example.com, or visit www.instituteforprevention.com.
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