Tobacco Free Policy begins Jan. 1, 2017

CRMC Announces Breathe Better Campaign – Will go 100% Smoke- and Tobacco-Free on Jan. 1, 2017

ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE from CullmanSense.com

CULLMAN – Cullman Regional Medical Center will become 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free effective Jan. 1, 2017. The goal of the program, called Breathe Better, is to create a healing environment for patients – both inside and outside the facility.

The new policy will prohibit smoking and the use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes or vaporizers, on all CRMC properties and adjacent grounds. It will apply to all patients, visitors, employees and anyone providing or receiving services on the CRMC campus.

“As the area’s healthcare leader, one of its largest employers and a strong community member, CRMC is committed to providing a safe, healthy environment for patients, employees and visitors. And we have an obligation to serve as a model of health promotion to the communities we serve,” said CRMC CEO James Clements. “We have a significant responsibility to provide a safe, healthy and positive patient experience at CRMC. By becoming smoke- and tobacco-free, we are furthering this goal while maintaining our community leadership role as the source for health and healing.”

Tobacco use is universally recognized as a bad health habit that leads to negative health consequences. Smoking is the leading preventable reason for premature death and illness in the U.S. and is the leading contributor to heart disease, lung cancer, stroke and emphysema. Smokers have increased gastrointestinal, prenatal and orthopedic complications. Patients who are tobacco users have twice the risk of wound infection and are slower to heal after surgery or trauma. Smoking is the major cause of hospital admissions and readmissions. Cullman County has one of the highest incidences of smoking in Alabama, at 23.7 percent, compared to the state average of 22.3 percent, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to CRMC Chief Medical Officer William Smith, M.D., creating a smoke-free campus is the culmination of an initiative which started 10 years ago.  In 2006, under the leadership of then Medical Staff President Steve Seidel, M.D., the medical staff embraced and supported a 100 percent smoke-free campus.  Achieving this goal is an indication of the medical staff’s and hospital’s commitment to the health of our community.

“I regularly tell my patients that deciding to quit is the single most important choice they can make that gives them complete control over their health,” said Smith. “Smoking is a conscious choice and there are consequences associated with making this choice. It is not a critique or a judgment. It is unhealthy — and if you stop now, you will decrease your chances for greater health risks in the future.”

Creating a healing environment

CRMC is dedicated to creating a smoke-free and tobacco-free environment that supports healing and eliminates exposure to secondhand smoke while on the CRMC Campus.

“The care we provide every day focuses on our patients by delivering compassionate, high-quality care,” said Cheryl Bailey, R.N., chief nursing officer for CRMC. “While work is already being done at CRMC to create a healing environment – including efforts in noise reduction, call-light response, the treatment of pain and other areas, eliminating the use of tobacco products and promoting smoking cessation efforts for our patients are important steps in this process.”

CRMC is dedicated to raising public awareness of the health risks associated with smoking and secondhand smoke. CRMC Wellness Services is offering a Tobacco Treatment Support Program for all CRMC employees who are tobacco users. “We hope to be able to open up this program to members of our community in the near future,” Clements said.

“During the past three years CRMC has actively discussed concerns about smoking in our communities and, more specifically, at our facilities,” said Clements. “Our Breathe Better campaign hopes to eliminate smoking and tobacco use at our sites and increase public awareness of this issue by making our facilities become 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free in January 2017.”

For more information on CRMC’s 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free policy, visit online at: www.crmchospital.com/tobaccofree.

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