DCH Health System hospitals will make their entire campuses tobacco-free on Jan. 1, 2014.
At its Jan. 10 meeting, the Health System board of directors voted that as of Jan. 1, 2014, no tobacco use of any kind will be permitted – inside or outside – on hospital property at DCH Regional Medical Center, Northport Medical Center, Fayette Medical Center and Pickens County Medical Center. The new policies will apply to all staff, patients, visitors, guests, vendors, volunteers, contractual workers and the general public.
"Our mission is to improve the health of the people and communities we serve," said Bryan Kindred, president/CEO of the Health System. "Making our campuses tobacco free is an important way to provide leadership in this effort."
Tobacco use remains the No. 1 cause of preventable and premature deaths nationwide, and secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals of which 50 are known carcinogens.
"We have a responsibility to eliminate health hazards and promote healthy lifestyle choices," Kindred said. "Going tobacco-free helps protect the community, staff, patients, families and guests from the harmful effects of tobacco use."
Kindred said DCH wants the community to know of the policy change at this early date so that those working in or visiting a hospital campus will have time to adequately prepare.
Employees and patients who use tobacco will be provided with cessation support and options before and after the campuses go smoke free.