Starting next month of November, Erlanger Health System will welcome no tobacco in its vicinities. There are three hospitals in Chattanooga under the Erlanger Health System and all of them will be tobacco-free next month.
CEO Kevin Spiegel said that they need to lead by example being a health care provider. He said they need to set a standard by which the community can follow.
No Tobacco Policy
Using tobacco products of any kind will be forbidden within three blocks from the Erlanger campuses, physician practices clinics, medical facilities; even parking lots and inside the cars parked there.
The health system is working hard and seriously to make the health insurance premiums higher for its employees who smoke or use tobacco. Moreover, it is pushing a policy wherein tobacco user will not be hired and employed in the hospital.
Dr. James Creel, Chief Medical Officer of Erlanger, said that it is just right and fitting for everyone in the hospitals (including volunteers, employees, contractors, vendors and doctors) to take the relevant steps in promoting a safe and healthy working environment as they encourage patients to live healthily and make healthy lifestyle decisions.
The no tobacco rule came after Parkridge Health System and Memorial Health Care System both decided to make their respective campuses free from tobacco. In Memorial, smoking job applicants are not even welcome.
Erlanger is the fourth largest employer in Hamilton County and its move is said to be crucial in developing an increasing number of employers moving for tobacco-free employment policies to decrease insurance expenses, according to Tobacco Free Chattanooga Coalition Chairman Kevin Lusk.
He added that they previously held a coalition and every attendee was excited about this news on tobacco-free Erlanger. He said that the health system is a leading employer and leading health care provider. Its decision was very important in ensuring the well being of its patients and its employees.
Back in 2009, Erlanger designated areas for smoking, but Lusk said is not enough. With a complete ban, everyone will be protected against secondhand smoke threat.
Since March 2009, there was just one area in the properties of Erlanger where guests are allowed to smoke. Gong completely tobacco-free involves banning everything related or similar to tobacco products like cigars, ecigarettes, v2 cigs coupon codes, inhalants, pipes, snus or chewing tobacco.
Beginning Of Implementation
The ban is said to take effect on the 21st of November. This date, according to Spiegel, was chosen as this is also the date of the Great American Smokeout. It is for honoring all those who have decided to live tobacco-free.
He added that they have the commitment to safeguard not just their patients’ health, but also the health of their employees, workers and all those who work for them.
According to Erlanger Health System officials, their top priority is still their patients; to give them the proper care and treatment. This means offering assistance for those tobacco product users. People who work in the hospital; people who visit patients and others who come inside the hospital for other reasons must follow this policy beginning November 21.
Available Resources For Smokers
Employees will be provided with free cessation program and information on smoke cessation products. For people visiting the Erlanger facilities and would like to know how they can get help in smoke cessation, they may call American Lung Association through its hotline number 800 548-8252 or visit the website www.ffsonline.org.
Resources on smoke cessation may also be sourced from American cancer Society website, www.cancer.org. They can also call the Tennessee Tobacco Quitline for free smoke quitting coaching at -800-Quit-Now. They can also visit http://health.state.tn.us/tobaccoquitline.shtml or they can also consult with their private or family doctors regarding how they could lead a life away from tobacco.