- Southampton Hospital
has announced that its entire campus and off-site facilities will become smoke-free/tobacco-free effective November 18, 2010, National Smoke-Out Day. The use of tobacco products is a major cause of preventable disease and death in this country. According to Dr. Fred Weinbaum, the Hospital's Chief Medical Officer, "This tobacco-free policy is the result of Southampton Hospital's commitment to providing a safe, clean, and healthy environment for its patients, staff, and visitors. Prohibiting the use of tobacco products on Hospital property will reduce the risks to health and safety for tobacco users and those around them."
The Hospital interior has been smoke-free for some time, but smoking was permitted in special kiosks. These designated smoking areas will no longer exist after November 18 and the use of all tobacco products on Hospital grounds and in all vehicles, even privately-owned vehicles using Hospital parking areas, will be prohibited. This policy applies to everyone, including employees, voluntary medical staff, patients, visitors, students, vendors, contractors, subcontractors, and volunteers. In addition, staff members are prohibited from trespassing and/or occupying adjacent properties in order to use tobacco products.
Over the last nine months, the Hospital has been informing employees about the new policy and notifying candidates for employment during the application and initial orientation process. Posters and banners are communicating the new policy to patients and visitors. Permanent signs will on display in prominent, visible areas at the Hospital and each off-site facility. A variety of tobacco cessation programs and other support will be provided at low or no cost through the Ed & Phyllis Davis Wellness Institute to employees, patients, and others to assist them to stop using tobacco products.
Nicotine gum will be available at no cost for staff members, families and visitors at the Lobby Information desk and the Emergency Department registration area. This aid will allow family members to remain close to their loved one without leaving the campus to use tobacco products. Patients must have a physician order to receive nicotine gum and must receive it through the usual medication delivery process. Those requesting nicotine gum must sign a nicotine gum "Instructions for Use/Release from Liability" form which discloses nicotine gum warnings and clarifies the proof of age (person must be 18 or older) each time a piece of nicotine gum is requested.