A tobacco-free campus will benefit

Published 4:52pm Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dear Editor,

As many of you are aware, most hospitals in the state of Alabama and across the country are supporting a healthier environment by implementing the tobacco free campus initiative.

Our commitment is that Vaughan Regional will become a tobacco free campus on Monday, Nov. 19, following the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout.  That day is drawing near.

For many years now, hospitals have banned smoking inside their facilities. Vaughan Regional is now taking the next step by prohibiting the use of all tobacco products on hospital property. The policy applies to all patients, visitors, medical staff members, vendors and employees.

On a personal note, I have been a cigar smoker for many years. After beginning my job earlier this year I learned the hospital had chosen to become a tobacco free campus. I challenged myself with the question of whether I should continue to smoke on my own time and away from the hospital. My last cigar was over two months ago.

What I can say to you is this:  evidence shows that smoking or breathing secondhand smoke damages nearly every organ in the human body. Additionally, smoking is linked to at least 10 different cancers and accounts for some 30 percent of all cancer deaths.

I believe promoting a tobacco-free environment is an important step to improving the health and safety of all Alabamians, and the enhanced restrictions at our facility play an important role in addressing the dangers of tobacco.

It’s your choice whether or not you continue to use tobacco products away from the hospital.  If you chose to stop using them, I believe your health and the health of others would benefit.

 

David Sirk

Chief Executive Officer

Vaughan Regional Medical Center

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