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Exempla Lutheran Medical Center Goes Tobacco-free

June 23, 2008
Exempla Lutheran Medical Center goes tobacco-free e-mail to a friend | print this | link to this Contributed by: Julie Story on 6/2/2008 ExemplaLutheranMedicalCenter (Lutheran) will join hospitals across the state and country in becoming tobacco-free on July 3. "Our decision to go tobacco free demonstrates Lutheran's mission, to foster healing and health for the people and communities we serve," said Bob Malte, Lutheran President and CEO. "As a healthcare organization, we have a unique responsibility to lead by example in promoting healthy living." The new Tobacco Free Campus status means that the tobacco use policy will extend beyond the walls of the hospital to include the entire ExemplaLutheranMedicalCenter campus. Starting on July 3, patients, visitors, volunteers, employees and physicians will no longer be permitted to use tobacco - cigarettes or smokeless tobacco - near the hospital or on the surrounding campus grounds, including personal cars. "Given that tobacco-use and secondhand smoke exposure continue to be among the top causes of preventable death and disease in our nation, what Lutheran is doing sets a very important standard for organizations providing health care in our County," said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, M.D., Executive Director of the Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment. By January 2009, 35 hospitals in Colorado will have implemented tobacco-free policies, including all the Exempla Healthcare hospitals, DenverHealthMedicalCenter and UniversityHospital. According to Dr. Johnson, tobacco-free campus policies, along with local and state smoke-free laws, make a significant, positive impact on health by reducing tobacco use and secondhand exposure. "Colorado and JeffersonCounty have seen significant reductions in tobacco use as a direct result of these laws and policies. This will ultimately save hundreds of lives every year, and prevent many debilitating tobacco-related diseases." "We are proud of our approach to this policy change, and started a year in advance in order to support staff, educate our patients and inform our community," said Malte. Lutheran and the Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment are collaborating to offer a number of informational classes including sessions to help employees and community members with strategies to make it through extended periods of time, including work shifts, without using tobacco. For more information call Donna Viverette,Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment's Tobacco Prevention Initiative Coordinatorat 303-275-7555, or visit www.exempla.org. For more information about smoking cessation for you or a loved one, contact the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or www.coquitline.org