Cayuga Medical Center Goes Tobacco
By Kathy Eliason, MS, RN
On “World No Tobacco Day,” May 31,
2012 Cayuga Medical Center will extend its tobacco-free policies to include all
outdoor grounds, properties, and parking areas. The implementation of this
policy will reduce the harmful exposure to secondhand smoke when people visit
Cayuga Medical Center campuses.
Why is Cayuga Medical Center
becoming tobacco free?
We believe it is our responsibility
to provide our patients with a healthy environment, free of secondhand smoke
and the odors of secondhand smoke. Our tobacco-free policy is also part of a
larger health and wellness initiative to create opportunities for our employees
to maintain and improve their health. By going tobacco-free Cayuga Medical
Center is aligned with other area businesses and organizations interested in
promoting good health in “T-Free Zones” throughout Tompkins County
Going tobacco free just makes
sense. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the
United States and is contrary to Cayuga Medical Center’s mission to model and
contribute to health and wellbeing. According to the Centers for Disease
Control, smoking harms nearly every organ in the body. The adverse health
affects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or
nearly one of every five deaths, each year in this country. And smokeless
tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking as it can cause cancer, oral
health problems, and nicotine addition.
What if I am a smoker and I need to
be admitted to the hospital?
If you are a smoker we can offer
you support during your hospitalization. When you are admitted, our clinical
staff will talk with you about nicotine withdrawal. Your physician can write orders
for nicotine replacement to treat withdrawal symptoms and make you more
comfortable. We have found that nicotine replacement therapy can be the first
step towards quitting for some patients.
How will the tobacco-free policy be
promoted at the medical center?
We want to foster a healthy
environment and we appreciate the confidence our patients and visitors have in
the care we provide. When we encounter people smoking on campus our goal is to
be helpful. We will assume the smoker doesn’t know about our policy, we will
offer information, and kindly ask them to put out the tobacco. Many people
coming to the medical center experience unpleasant symptoms when encountering
cigarette smoke and we hope to help others understand.
What areas does the tobacco-free
All medical center facilities and
campuses will be designated as tobacco-free environments. This includes the
Cayuga Medical Center main campus, parking lots, gardens, and grounds, the
Convenient Care Center campuses in Ithaca and Cortland, the Island Health
Center, Island Health and Fitness at Community Corners, all properties around
Cayuga Medical Associates locations, and all Lab Draw Stations. All of the
current areas designated for smoking outside will be gone as of May 31.
We do not require people to quit
using tobacco. People remain free to use tobacco off campus, without being
judged or criticized. Cayuga Medical Center policy simply requires that tobacco
not be used on our properties or around our facilities. And for people who want
to stop using tobacco, we can help.
Kathy Eliason, MS, RN, is the lifestyle
coordinator for the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living. Her nursing career has
focused on health promotion and community education. She has a special interest
in tobacco dependence and oversees the tobacco cessation classes and support
For information on our tobacco
cessation classes and support groups, call the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living
at (607) 252-3590.