Madison County Hospital is planning to join other hospitals across Central Ohio in creating a tobacco-free campus. The initiative, still in early planning stages, would prohibit tobacco use on the hospital campus including private and hospital owned vehicles and adjacent properties. MCH anticipates being completely tobacco-free by early 2009.
A committee of MCH employees met last spring to review current trends in smoking policies at other Ohio hospitals. The Ohio Hospital Association reports that 80% of Ohio hospitals have tobacco-free policies in place. The committee considered the trends, the impact on employees who use tobacco products and the possible benefits to the hospital if a smoke-free policy was put into place.
Earlier this year, a multidisciplinary committee was selected to develop, implement and oversee the initiative.
"Madison County Hospital is the community's leading healthcare provider," said Fred Kolb, MCH President and CEO, "We are committed to promoting good health and a tobacco-free campus will protect the well being of everyone who comes to MCH."
The committee realizes this will be a difficult transition for people who use tobacco products. They are identifying ways to make resources available to encourage adherence to the new policy. Such considerations include: working with doctors to ensure that orders for nicotine patches are in place for patients who use tobacco; providing cessation opportunities for staff who wish to quit using tobacco; and helping staff gain access to cessation medications.
"We want to create a healthy example for our community," Kolb said. "Having our facilities smoke free inside and out will provide an atmosphere that is beneficial to good health for all."