CLEARWATER TRIBUNE HOME

APRIL 22, 2010

Mary Curtis, CVHC Respiratory Therapist, is helping coordinate the Tobacco Free Campus program at both Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s Hospitals and Clinics, which will go into effect on June 1.

Hospital campuses go tobacco free on June 1

    St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospital and their satellite clinics will become tobacco free on June 1. Use of tobacco products on campus will no longer be allowed by patients, visitors or employees.

    “Many, if not most, health care facilities across the state and across the nation do not allow tobacco use on their campuses because it is a health and safety issue,” said Mary Curtis, CVHC Respiratory Therapist. “We have allowed our patients and employees to smoke in designated areas further than 20 feet from our entrances, as the state law allows, but it creates a hazard. We are offering tobacco cessation classes for our employees. Classes are also offered through each health department office for area residents interested in quitting.”

    The health care providers will work with their patients to discuss alternatives such as nicotine replacement therapies when inpatients are admitted to the facility. Smoking in cars in the parking lot or elsewhere on campus will not be allowed. There will be no designated smoking areas on any campus affiliated with SMHC or CVHC. The campuses will have outdoor signs designating the area as a tobacco free zone and signs within the buildings will remind people that no tobacco use is permitted.

    “We anticipate our patients and visitors will understand our reasons for implementing our tobacco free policy. We are concerned with the health and well being of our patients and staff. Protecting everyone from the effects of second hand smoke is one of many reasons for adopting the new policy,” said Faunda Butler, SMHC Respiratory Therapist.

    Both Butler and Curtis currently visit with inpatients who use tobacco to provide them with cessation information and to inform them of local tobacco cessation classes. “We understand how hard it is to quit, but there are programs, materials and nicotine replacement therapies that can help people who have not been successful in the past,” said Curtis. “We’re here to assist people and help them find the path that works for them.”