A new state law prohibiting the use of tobacco products within 100 feet of schools will further decrease the smoking options for people near Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk. The new law prohibits the use of tobacco within 100 feet of schools, including public roads and sidewalks.
In the case of Brooks Memorial Hospital, this prohibits any tobacco use on the Eagle Street border of the hospital, as the Dunkirk Middle School is located directly behind the medical campus. Hospital officials are also announcing enhancements to its tobacco-free campus policy.
The announcement coincided with Thursday's 37th Great American Smokeout, a national drive which encourages smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit tobacco. The policy prohibits all tobacco use in the Brooks facility, on grounds including parking lots, within 50 feet of any entrance, and in hospital-owned vehicles.
Pictured with new signage posting Brooks Memorial Hospital as a Tobacco-Free Zone are (from left) Frank Schneider, Brooks Safety Officer; Laurie Adams, Tri County Tobacco-Free Program Director; Kelly Biddlecom, Brooks Patient Access Site Supervisor; Theresa Schrantz, LPN, Brooks Employee Health Supervisor/Certified Tobacco Cessation Educator; Desiree Coon, Brooks Patient Experience Coordinator; and Edwin Rodriguez, LERHSNY Marketing Specialist/Community Relations.
"As a health care facility and partner in tobacco cessation education, we're pleased to be able to have this new level of enforcement for our existing policies," explained Brooks' Chief Operating Officer Jarrod G. Johnson, MBA, FACHE.
Brooks Memorial Hospital's enhanced policy states that tobacco products, including smoking products, chew tobacco and electronic smoking devices are not allowed on hospital property. The tobacco-free policy applies to all employees, patients and visitors, including family members and friends visiting the hospital. In addition, while under hospital care, patients are not allowed to leave the hospital to use tobacco products. Rather, a patient's physician can arrange for nicotine replacement products such as patches or prescription medicine to help individuals manage through withdrawal periods, as needed.
Theresa Schrantz, LPN, Brooks Memorial Hospital Employee Health Supervisor and Certified Tobacco Cessation Educator, stressed the importance of local policies to support state and national efforts.
"The tobacco-free campus policy at Brooks helps us reinforce our commitment to provide a safe and healthy environment for our patients, visitors and staff," she said.
Additional services offered such as smoking cessation programs and the hospital's participation in the Baby & Me Program are also tools to help providers and clients meet their tobacco-free goals. According to officials, Brooks Memorial Hospital joins thousands of health care facilities across the state and nation that have established tobacco-free policies. In addition to the enhanced hospital policy, new signage has been installed on hospital grounds, wallet cards will be available for staff who want to hand them out to remind others of the policy, and letters will be available to patients upon admission and to physician offices.
For its efforts to enhance tobacco-free campus initiatives, Brooks Memorial Hospital is getting kudos from local partners in smoke-free campaigns.
"We applaud the efforts of Brooks Memorial Hospital, management and staff in enhancing their tobacco-free policy and protecting the health for those in our community from the dangers of secondhand smoke," explained Laurie Adams, Tri County Tobacco-Free Program Director. "The Great American Smokeout is an annual event for smokers to make a quit attempt. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in our country, yet more than 20 percent of adults still smoke."
For more information about quitting smoking contact Schrantz at 363-7293 or the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 866-697-8487. For more information about creating tobacco free outdoor areas, contact the Tri County Tobacco Free Programs at 716-665-2310.
The Great American Smokeout is an initiative of the American Cancer Society. To find more resources and learn about cancer, its risk factors, prevention and treatment, go to www.cancer.org.
Brooks Memorial Hospital is an affiliate of Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York.