Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sentara Potomac Hospital Becomes Tobacco-Free Campus on Independence Day

No smoking on campus, including sidewalks and parking lots after July 4, 2011

Hospitals see the effects of tobacco every day in heart disease, respiratory ailments and numerous types of cancer. Tobacco, smoked or spit, is a significant cause of preventable disease.

In support of Sentara’s mission to improve health every day Sentara Potomac Hospital will become a tobacco-free environment (TFE) on July 4, 2011. This means the hospital and its campus will be 100% tobacco-free, with no use of smoking or tobacco products permitted anywhere on the hospital campus, including parking lots. Everyone on hospital property including staff, physicians, volunteers, patients and visitors will be required to adhere to this policy.

Starting July 4 smokers will be asked, politely, to extinguish all smoking materials while on the hospital campus, including in parked cars. Nicotine gum will be available at no charge for short term use while visitors are on the campus. Educational materials and smoking cessation information will also be offered.

“Our goal is to provide a healthier environment for everyone at Sentara Potomac Hospital by eliminating the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke and to help staff, patients, and visitors adopt a healthier lifestyle through tobacco cessation,” says Megan Perry, hospital president. “This is a positive demonstration of concern for the health of everyone using our campus.”

The boundaries of the tobacco-free zone will extend to the campus property lines. This includes the main hospital and its surrounding sidewalks and parking lots, The Potomac Center building and its surrounding sidewalks and parking lots, and the Century Medical Building and its surrounding sidewalks and parking lots.

“We understand that compliance with this policy may be difficult for some visitors,” says Perry. “That’s why we are offering nicotine replacement therapy and educational information. We are not mandating that visitors quit smoking, but rather that they refrain from tobacco use while on hospital property.”

Independence Day – a great day to be free from tobacco!