La Grange, IL – Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital officially becomes a tobacco-free campus July 1. Already a smoke-free building, the hospital is updating its policy to include a ban on tobacco products on hospital-owned property. The new policy will apply to all employees, patients and visitors.
“As a healthcare provider, we are committed to providing a healthy and comfortable environment for our patients, visitors and staff,” said Rick Wright, CEO of Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.
A La Grange village ordinance prohibits smoking within 20 feet from any entrance or door. Since 20 feet from most of the hospital doors would put smokers in the middle of parking lots and driveways, hospital officials decided to declare the Adventist La Grange Memorial campus – which includes the hospital, all buildings, parking lots and parked vehicles – as a smoke-free zone.
“It is our responsibility to set a good example for our community,” Wright said. “One of the most difficult questions to answer is why we allow smoking on our campus. Frankly, there is no good answer, but that is about to change. Roughly half of Chicago-area hospital campuses have gone tobacco free and we are excited to join that group.”
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the United States. Because cigarette smoking and tobacco use are acquired behaviors, smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in our society.
In an effort to ease the transition to the tobacco free campus for employees who smoke, the hospital will offer on-campus smoking cessation classes through the University of Illinois Extension Program, among other resources to aid those employees wishing to quit.
According to the American Cancer Society, about half of all Americans who continue to smoke will die because of the habit. Each year about 440,000 people die in the United States from illnesses related to cigarette smoking. Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined. In addition, smoking is the major cause of heart disease, aneurysms, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke, and it contributes to the severity of pneumonia and asthma.
Tobacco also has damaging effects on reproductive health in women. It is associated with fertility issues, a higher risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, and infant death, and is a cause of low birth weight infants. It has also been linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
“We all are familiar with the staggering statistics regarding the effects of smoking on our health, but I am less concerned with general statistics than I am on having a hospital full of healthy employees,” Wright said. “Taking this action is consistent with our obligation to our employees and our mission to our community.”
Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.