February 5, 2008, Hazard, Ky. – The Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center is observing February’s American Heart Month observance by promoting better heart and lung health with a new campus-wide tobacco free policy.
Beginning Thursday, February 14, the entire Hazard ARH community including the hospital, clinic, HomeCare Store, Home Health Agency, ARH System Center and the ARH Medical Mall in Hazard will be tobacco free.
As part of the initiative, no tobacco use of any kind will be permitted - inside or outside - on ARH property. This initiative will include the elimination of designated areas outside Hazard ARH where employees, patients and visitors are currently permitted to use tobacco products.
Hazard ARH invites the public to stop by the hospital lobby at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. February 14 for free refreshments and learn more about why its facilities are going tobacco free.
“As a healthcare organization, we are committed to the health and safety of our employees and patients,” said Hazard ARH Senior Community CEO Donnie Fields. “We believe that we have a responsibility to take a leadership role on this major health issue, and establishing our entire campus as tobacco free firmly supports that belief.”
Kentucky has the highest rate of adult smokers in the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year approximately 440,000 Americans die from diseases caused by smoking and nearly 8,000 are Kentuckians. The U.S. Surgeon General has confirmed that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is a serious health hazard and that there is no risk-free level of exposure. Tobacco use in and around hospitals poses health and safety risks for patients, employees and visitors.
“Hazard ARH’s decision to go tobacco free is a concrete way to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to healthy living,” Fields said.
The hospital has offered employees who would like to quit smoking free smoking cessation classes through the UK Center for Rural Health’s Cooper-Clayton smoking cessation program.
The classes are also open to the public and are held each Monday in Room 329 at the UK Center for Rural Health Bailey-Stumbo Building at 750 Morton Boulevard adjacent to the hospital. The smoking cessation program uses education, skills training, and social support in combination with use of nicotine replacement products such as the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, or nicotine lozenge to help them quit smoking. For more information contact Melissa Hendrickson at 606-439-3557, extension 83512.