Nov 9, 2009 2:09 PM by sleonard
NEW IBERIA, La. - Dauterive Hospital is going tobacco-free on Feb. 12, 2010. As of that date, no tobacco use of any kind will be permitted - inside or outside - on the property, including all parking areas. This initiative also will include the elimination of designated areas outside Dauterive Hospital where employees, patients and visitors currently use tobacco products.
To kick off the campaign, Dauterive Hospital will host a week of activities Nov. 16-20 for its employees, volunteers and those who work in medical office complexes on its campus. Great American Smoke Out Week activities include a door decorating contest, games and a special deal in the Garden Café.
Employees and volunteers who dine in the Garden Café on Thursday, Nov. 19 - the date of the Great American Smoke Out national recognition - will receive a free turkey sandwich for turning in a pack of cigarettes and agreeing to quit smoking.
"Inhaling smoke first- or second-hand is a life-threatening act that has no place in or around a healthcare facility dedicated to saving and improving lives. More than 440,000 preventable deaths each year are linked to tobacco use," said Alan Fabian, Chief Executive Officer for Dauterive Hospital.
"By adopting policies that restrict the use of tobacco on Dauterive Hospital property, we are ensuring that our patients, coworkers, physicians and others who visit our facility may breathe clean air, and we hope to encourage those who do smoke to adopt healthier behaviors," Fabian said.
The policies that will govern Dauterive Hospital's tobacco-free status currently are being developed by a team of healthcare professionals that includes smokers, former smokers and those who have never used tobacco products.
"As healthcare providers, we need to model the healthy behaviors we want to see in the community. We take our responsibility to promote healthy lifestyles seriously," said Anna Burke, Chief Nursing Officer for Dauterive Hospital.
"At the same time, we are aware of nicotine's addictive nature, and we are sensitive to the concerns of smokers," Burke explained. "We will assist employees who choose to take this opportunity to quit smoking by offering smoking cessation classes, support groups and training on how to assist patients who feel the need to smoke."
The decision to become a tobacco-free campus is not an attempt to "force" anyone to quit using tobacco products. Rather, the tobacco-free initiative is a concrete way Dauterive Hospital can demonstrate its ongoing commitment to healthy living.
"We are aware that being in a hospital is a stressful time for patients and family members, which often increases their desire to smoke," Burke said. "At the same time, we must be concerned about the overall health consequences of smoking. We must do our best to limit exposure to this substance."