Q: What does smoke- and tobacco-free mean?
A: Humboldt General Hospital has elected to go smoke-and tobacco-free, effective May 1, 2012. This means smoking and/or tobacco use is not permitted on the Humboldt General Hospital campus.
Q: Why is Humboldt General Hospital going smoke- and tobacco-free?
A: Humboldt General Hospital is determined to provide a healthy, safe environment for our patients, visitors and employees. Policies that discourage smoking and tobacco use will improve our outcomes, and we are ready to lead out in modeling positive behaviors for our community. Additionally, non-smoking patients, visitors and employees deserve smoke-free, litter-free areas surrounding HGH's entrances and other public spaces.
Q: Where on campus does the smoking and tobacco ban apply? Is smoking or tobacco use allowed inside cars?
A: Smoking and/or tobacco use is prohibited on all areas of the campus, inside and outside. This includes medical office buildings, medical offices, parking lots, outdoor areas or any other facilities maintained by HGH. It also applies to the inside of cars that are parked on Humboldt General Hospital's property.
Q: Why not have designated smoking areas?
A: Smoking and second-hand smoke are known health hazards. Plus, researchers are now concerned with third-hand smoke, the residual nicotine and other chemicals left on a variety of surfaces by tobacco smoke. This residue is thought to react with common indoor pollutants to create a toxic mix. This toxic mix of third-hand smoke contains cancer-causing substances, posing a potential health hazard to nonsmokers who are exposed to it, especially children. Humboldt General Hospital strives to serve as a source of health, healing, education and prevention. We are committed not just to healing illness, but also to promoting wellness. Allowing smoking and/or tobacco use on our campus, even in designated areas, is not consistent with this commitment.
Q: Why was smoking chosen rather than other health risks?
A: Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five deaths are related to smoking. Smoking is linked to several medical conditions including cancer and heart and vascular diseases. In addition, smoking is harmful to those who are near the person engaging in the behavior, through second-hand smoke.
Q: Isn't smoking a person's legal right?
A: We are not asking patients, visitors or employees to quit smoking, but to refrain from smoking while visiting or working the Humboldt General Hospital campus.
Q: What kind of support is Humboldt General Hospital providing for employees who smoke?
A: To assist employees who smoke, Humboldt General Hospital is offering Quit Smoking counseling free of charge through our Wellness Coordinator. We are also making nicotine replacement therapy, including patches, gum and lozenges, available to employees at a discounted cost. Our website, www.hghospital.ws, also has valuable information and links to resources that will help smokers quit or remain compliant with Humboldt General Hospital policy while continuing to use tobacco products.
Q: What kind of support is Humboldt General Hospital providing to inpatients who smoke?
A: Patients are encouraged to notify admissions or their nurse of their use of tobacco products. This information will be forwarded to their physician who can make arrangements to provide support for these patients. Where appropriate, Humboldt General Hospital will make nicotine replacement therapy, including patches, gum and lozenges, available upon request of the patient's attending physician. Patients are also welcome to access Humboldt General Hospital's Quit Smoking counseling free of charge through our Wellness Coordinator.
Q: I always hear that patient and customer satisfaction are Humboldt General Hospital's top priority, yet banning smoking on campus is likely to anger visitors who want to smoke. Why do it?
A: Patient welfare and safety are also Humboldt General Hospital's top priorities. The majority of our patients, visitors and employees are non-smokers, and they are entitled to smoke-free, litter-free areas surrounding all HGH entrances and other public spaces. Although we recognize implementing a smoke- and tobacco-free policy is challenging, we feel it is the right thing to do for our patients, employees and community.
Q: How will the smoke-free policy be enforced? What if someone refuses to comply and continues to smoke?
A: The HGH workforce is empowered and expected to communicate this policy with courtesy and diplomacy to other employees, patients, visitors, vendors, contractors and other stakeholders. If the individual persists, management will be contacted for additional assistance. If the issue cannot be resolved at the management level, Humboldt General Hospital will ask for police support.
Q: How will you communicate this policy to employees?
A: Humboldt General Hospital will communicate with all employees through facility signs; management, staff and other meetings; and via other communication resources such as employee bulletins and emails. All employees will be asked to respect the organization's smoke- and tobacco-free policy. For employees who do not comply, Human Resources will be contacted for coaching and counseling. Employees observing a policy violation are asked to remind visitors of the organization's policy and to seek management's assistance when necessary.
Q: How will you communicate this policy to patients, visitors, vendors, contractors and stakeholders?
A: Humboldt General Hospital will communicate the smoke- and tobacco-free policy with all patients seeking services at time of registration or admission, through facility signage and through other patient communication resources. Patients will not be permitted to smoke or use tobacco products while on campus. A Smoke-Free Reminder Card will be provided to individuals admitted to inpatient services and physicians may be contacted to request smoking cessation products. If an employee observes a patient smoking, the individual will be reminded of the policy and asked to refrain from smoking. If the patient persists, management will be contacted for additional assistance. Should the patient leave the campus while admitted, then it is classified as "against medical authorization," and the manager of the unit must be contacted for appropriate intervention.