Hospital Becomes Tobacco-Free Campus

May 26, 2010

Effective May 30, 2010, Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw will be a Tobacco-Free Campus. No one on the campus of the physical rehabilitation hospital will be permitted to use tobacco or tobacco-related products within any building or on any property owned or leased by the hospital. This new policy applies not only to staff, volunteers and patients, but also to visitors, vendors and members of the public while working in or visiting the facility.

In becoming a Tobacco-Free Campus, Helen Hayes Hospital is demonstrating its commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for all patients, visitors, employees, volunteers and other guests. The initiative will effectively eliminate second-hand smoke exposure, a recognized source of premature death and disease, to everyone on campus.

Helen Hayes Hospital has received assistance and support from the POW’R (Putnam, Orange, Westchester and Rockland) Cessation Center in implementing this new policy. POW’R Cessation Center is a program of the American Lung Association in New York, Inc., funded by the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program. The Center provided free technical assistance, conducted evidence-based training for staff which was customized to their medical specialty and also offered train-the-trainer programs. In addition, the Center provided literature and consultation as well as financial support.

In preparation, the hospital has posted permanent signage announcing the tobacco ban throughout the campus. Put It Out Rockland, a division of the Rockland County Department of Health, has offered smoking cessation programs to staff and volunteers who have expressed interest in quitting smoking. In addition, both clinical and non-clinical staff has received extensive training in helping patients’ quit smoking and in addressing issues and concerns related to the banning of tobacco on campus.

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. There are 570,000 New Yorkers currently living with tobacco-related disease, many of them chronically disabled. Approximately 25,500 New Yorkers die every year from smoking.