Contact: Mary Tyler Spivey
Since the 1980’s, public concern over the health consequences of smoking has led businesses, large and small, to restrict the use of tobacco products in their buildings and on their premises. The nation’s 6,000 hospitals have been among those organizations implementing more restrictive smoking policies. Motivated by a commitment to their healthcare mission, a recent study from The Joint Commission projected that a majority of U.S. hospitals now have a smoke-free campus. In Alabama, more than 40 hospitals have already eliminated smoking or tobacco use on their grounds by patients, visitors and employees. As of January 1, 2011, Baptist Health, Jackson Hospital and HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital will jointly implement a tobacco-free campus policy to include all sidewalks, grounds and facilities. “The hazards of smoking and tobacco use are well-known,” said Don Henderson, Jackson Hospital president and CEO. “Our healthcare facilities are joining together to take a more aggressive stance against the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.” Over the next six months, each organization will develop their respective tobacco-free policy, informational signage will be created, cessation programs will be enhanced and multiple communications to patients, visitors, employee and physicians will be distributed. “Clearly this is in line with our collective mission to improve the health of the community,” offered Linda Wade, HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Montgomery CEO. “We hope that the public we serve will join Baptist Health, Jackson Hospital and HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in supporting this expanded commitment to community health,” said Russell Tyner, Baptist Health CEO. The three healthcare facilities will announce their plans at a media conference to be held 11am, Wednesday, May 26, 2010, at the Alabama Department of Public Health Video Studio, Suite 940 RSA Tower, 201 Monroe St., Montgomery.