June 25, 2008
Dear Associates, Medical Staff and Volunteers:
I am pleased to announce to you our plans to partner with the hospitals and major health providers in Hernando and Citrus Counties to become a tobacco/smoke free campus effective January 1, 2009. Our journey began over a year ago when our Cancer Committee suggested the idea which was quickly endorsed by our Medical Executive Committee. The Hernando County Health Department took on a leadership role to bring community leaders together to discuss the nationwide movement for healthcare entities to become smoke free and how that might be implemented in our community.
Since the first Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health was released in 1964, 27 additional Surgeon General’s reports have concluded that tobacco use is the single most avoidable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States. Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country: it is responsible for one in every five American deaths. Smoking claims the lives of an estimated 1,100 people each day – over 400,000 smokers die from smoking-related diseases and 3,000 nonsmokers die from lung cancer each year. In addition, nonsmokers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) have higher death rates from cardiovascular disease than nonsmokers who are not exposed to ETS.
The negative impact of tobacco use is well publicized and clear. In accordance with our Vision, to lead the Community in Healthcare Excellence, it only makes sense we provide a healthy environment for all who access Oak Hill Hospital.
Our goal of a tobacco/smoke free campus is to provide a safe and healthful environment for all, to include patients, visitors, physicians, volunteers and associates. Please do not misinterpret the message. We are not asking individuals to stop smoking – we are asking individuals not to smoke or use tobacco on our campus. Nevertheless, I don’t know about you, but it took a constantly nagging wife to get me to quit smoking. If you would like to use this change as an opportunity to stop smoking, we will be providing many resources to those who would like to quit.
Between now and January 1, 2009, we will provide you with much more information and details. A task force of associates is planning activities, resources and information to help all of us during this transition.
I thank you for your support as Oak Hill Hospital continues to focus on the health and wellness of our Community.
Chief Executive Officer