West Palm Beach, FL – January 5, 2009 — St. Mary’s Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s will become a smoke-free campus effective January 5. Smoking or tobacco use will no longer be permitted on any part of the hospital campus. In order to support the smoking ban, St. Mary’s Medical Center will offer their employees a free smoking cessation course.
“We have been preparing for this for a number of months and are excited to join a growing number of progressive hospitals across the country that are putting the health of their patients, visitors and employees first,” Joey Bulfin, Chief Nursing Officer, said. “We are setting a new standard for quality of care, and are sending a very clear message to our patients and community that tobacco products are a dangerous health hazard and definitely don’t belong in a healthy workplace.”
According to the Surgeon General, people who work in a smoke-free environment tend to take fewer sick days as well as have a fewer number of respiratory diseases. In fact, studies have shown that smokers typically take up to 8 more sick days per year than non-smokers. A non-smoking workforce is therefore more likely to be a productive, healthy workforce.
"As a hospital, one of our missions is to improve the health status of not only our patients, but our employees, physicians, visitors and the surrounding community," Davide M. Carbone, Chief Executive Officer, said. “Our goal is to help smokers quit by providing them with the tools and support they need. We also want to protect our employees and visitors from harmful secondhand smoke.”
Secondhand smoke is classified as a “known human carcinogen” (cancer causing agent) by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization.
In addition, according to the American Cancer Society, in the U.S. alone, secondhand smoke is responsible for 35,000 annual deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers, and about 3,400 annual lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults.
“At St. Mary’s our number one goal is to not only improve the health status of our patients, but our employees, physicians, visitors and the surrounding community as well. In order to help our employees take the first step to a smoke free lifestyle, we have been providing them with a seven-week Smoking Cessation Course taught by the American Lung Association,” Bulfin said. “We know choosing to quit is difficult, but we’re prepared to offer the tools and support needed to make quitting an obtainable goal for our employees.”