Covering Louisiana

Jan 30, 2013 11:49 AM by Melissa Canone

La. hospitals launch statewide smoking cessation initiative

BATON ROUGE, La. - On Jan. 25, the Louisiana Hospital Association (LHA) launched the second phase of its Smart Choices, Better HealthHospital Campaign, a hospital workplace wellness initiative. While hospitals continue to work on implementing phase one of the campaign, which focuses on healthy eating, exercise and weight loss, they will begin strategically planning for phase two, which focuses on smoking cessation.

"Our patients trust the physicians and nurses who treat them every day. It is important that while we are taking care of patients, we are also teaching them ways to be healthier," said Kathy Bobbs, president and CEO of Regional Health System of Acadiana in Lafayette and LHA board chair. "One way is to lead by example, and that's why hospitals are committed to this initiative."

Hospital CEOs throughout the state appointed Campaign Champions who attended an orientation in Baton Rouge. These representatives were given the training and resources needed to help employees and the public quit smoking and to help their hospitals become tobacco-free campuses, if they are not already.

"Hospital wellness teams are encouraged to incorporate tools and resources from the orientation into their hospital-specific worksite wellness action plans to help improve the health of their employees and communities," said John Matessino, LHA president and CEO. "Smoking and obesity lead to other serious chronic illnesses and cost the state and taxpayers billions of dollars every year."

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals' Tobacco Control Program and the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) provided resources for hospitals to use in the planning and implementation of their programs.

"As healthcare professionals, we should lead by example in owning our own health, and discouraging tobacco use is key to helping people quit and preventing many future diseases, chronic conditions and diminished quality of life," said Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "We were proud to become the first 100 percent tobacco-free state agency last year, and I am pleased to see hospitals around the state joining in this important effort to encourage others to kick the habit."

"TFL's partnership with the state's Tobacco Control Program and the LHA is a great step forward for Louisiana," said Tonia Moore, associate director for TFL. "Together, we can help ensure that healthcare providers have the additional resources and tools they need to help patients quit smoking, successfully. Cessation tools, or Quit Smoking Resources, are available by calling 1-800-Quit-Now or by visiting the Smoking Cessation Trust website at www.smokingcessationtrust.org."

Since 2012, over 100 hospitals in Louisiana have joined the Smart Choices, Better HealthHospital Campaign. To learn more about the campaign, visit www.SmartChoicesBetterHealth.org.

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