FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Methodist Hospital’s New Tobacco-Free Policy to Take Effect in 2013
ARCADIA – Methodist Hospital has announced plans to implement a new tobacco-free policy, effective January 1, 2013. Hospital leaders say the new policy reflects the hospital’s mission.
“We are eliminating tobacco use on our properties to provide a healthy and safe environment for employees, patients and visitors and to promote positive health behaviors,” said Methodist Hospital CEO and President Dan Ausman.
The new policy bans the use of all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and smokeless tobacco on the Methodist Hospital campus. This includes parking lots, hospital vehicles and employees’ personal vehicles parked on the premises. Employees are prohibited from using tobacco products during working hours.
The US Surgeon General in 1964 declared that smoking is hazardous to health. Yet smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death and disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Methodist Hospital views tobacco use as a quality concern.
“We know that continued tobacco use can cause problems for patients,” said Chief Medical Officer Bala Chandrasekhar, MD. “Smoking hinders wound healing, increases infection rates in surgeries and is a common cause of poor birth outcomes.”
Three-fourths of all tobacco users say they want to quit. But Methodist Hospital recognizes the challenges of breaking the addiction to nicotine and respects an individual’s quitting process.
“We are not telling people they must quit smoking,” Dr. Chandrasekhar said. “We are saying they cannot smoke at our hospital. While they are a patient or visitor at this hospital, we can suggest ways to ease nicotine withdrawal symptoms. And if they are ready to quit, we have trained professionals and community partners who can help.”
Methodist Hospital has asked its employees to help inform visitors and patients about the new policy, Ausman said. “This will not be easy, but it‘s central to our continuing efforts to make an excellent place to work and to receive health care,” he said. In implementing the new tobacco ban, the hospital plans to offer symptom relief or tobacco-cessation treatment to interested staff, visitors and patients.
There are several helpful resources for quitting smoking. Among them: www.LAQuits.com <http://www.LAQuits.com> and 1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800-662-8887 – English). For Cantonese or Mandarin: 1-800-838-8917; Spanish, 1-800-45-NO-FUME (1-800-456-6386) and TDD/TTY Hearing Impaired: 1-800-933-4TDD (1-800-844-2439). The Methodist Hospital Cancer Resource Center, 626-574-3515, also has information on quitting.
About Methodist Hospital
Founded in 1903, Methodist Hospital is a 596-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving Arcadia and surrounding communities. Services include comprehensive acute care such as medical, surgical, perinatal, oncology, intensive care and complete cardiovascular services, including open-heart surgery. Methodist Hospital is an approved STEMI cardiac center, a certified stroke center and a center of excellence in bariatric services. Its cancer center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Methodist Hospital is accredited by The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.
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