ETMC System Goes Tobacco-Free - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETMC System Goes Tobacco-Free

ETMC Mt. Vernon will become the last of ETMC Regional Healthcare Systems’ 14 hospitals to go tobacco-free Saturday, December 31.  ETMC set a goal to have all of their hospitals, clinics and other facilities tobacco-free by the end of 2005.  “We are very pleased that we were able to accomplish this milestone,” said Shahin Motakef, ETMC vice president of professional services. “Hospitals across the country are adopting similar policies and as a healthcare organization it is important for us to be good examples of health.”


ETMC and Trinity Mother Frances Health System made the announcement together in February that both organizations would go tobacco-free at their Tyler campuses and at other locations in the region in 2005.  ETMC and TMFHS joined The University of Texas Health Center at Tyler, which eliminated tobacco products from its campus in 2004.


As a result of the tobacco-free campus policy, there are not any designated smoking areas. The use of tobacco products is prohibited by patients, physicians, employees or visitors anywhere on the grounds.


All ETMC hospitals offered free smoking cessation classes as well as starter packages of nicotine patches and gum to employees to help them kick the habit.  Hundreds of employees throughout the ETMC system were successful in quitting smoking. This policy only requires that tobacco users refrain from using these products while on hospital campuses, not that they quit altogether. Patients are offered withdrawal medications and tobacco-cessation assistance as needed.


Health Effects of Smoking

According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year, a staggering 440,000 people die in the U.S. from tobacco use. Nearly one of every five deaths is related to smoking. Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined.  Smokeless tobacco contributes to heart disease, oral diseases and many cancers. Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths. Smoking is also a major cause of heart disease, bronchitis, emphysema and stroke, and contributes to the severity of pneumonia.


Tobacco has a damaging affect on women's reproductive health and is associated with increased risk of miscarriage, early delivery, stillbirth and infant death, and is a cause of low birth weight in infants. Furthermore, the smoke from cigarettes has a harmful health effect on those around the smoke.


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