THUNDER BAY – Healthbeat – Taking on the tobacco industry has been a lengthy battle for health promoters all over the world for many years, but we’ve come a long way. In the 1920s and 1930s doctors were the faces of cigarette advertisements, but now hospitals are joining a movement to make their grounds completely smoke-free.
The Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre’s (TBRHSC) ‘Smoke-Free Together’ initiative focuses on the health and well-being of patients, families, visitors, and staff. Starting on September 30th, TBRHSC is asking everybody to respect its Smoke-Free Grounds Policy by being smoke-free while on the grounds and TBRHSC will help to support people to be smoke-free.
Smoking is an addiction to nicotine – one of the most addictive drugs in the world. Therefore, quitting isn’t just a matter of throwing away your pack of cigarettes; rather it needs to be treated like quitting any other addictive substance – this requires a supportive approach. This is what TBRHSC is aiming to do with specific strategies for patients, visitors and staff.
Throughout the process of developing this initiative, TBRHSC engaged both smoking and non-smoking community members, staff, community partners, researchers, and other hospitals with smoke-free grounds policies. This engagement process was done to ensure that the Health Sciences Centre moves forward with the most supportive and comprehensive approach.
One of the most important strategies was to determine how to support patients who smoke while they are staying at TBRHSC. There are a number of initiatives in place including: offering nicotine replacement therapy, educational resources, bedside counseling with a specially trained nurse in smoking cessation, and post-discharge follow-up calls for those patients who do decide to quit smoking. More information on these initiatives will be available in the coming weeks in a series of articles about the Smoke-Free Together initiative.
For outpatients, families, and visitors ‘Care Kits’ are available at the Information Desk located inside the Main Entrance. In these kits are resources about community supports for quitting smoking. Some of the community supports available include: Smokers’ Helpline, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit’s ‘Take Control’ program, The Quit Coach, and local pharmacists.
Initiatives are also being coordinated to educate staff about supports for quitting smoking and supportive ways to speak with people who are smoking on hospital property. Staff currently have supports in their benefits packages and access to several community supports.
“When it comes to tobacco control strategies, we think of ‘progress, not perfection’. If we can help people to be healthier, prevent hospitalizations, or decrease hospital stays by being smoke-free then we should do it,” said Kelly-Jo Gillis, Manager of Preventive Health Services.
For more information on our smoke-free grounds or information about quitting smoking visit our website at: www.tbrhsc.net/smokefree