Allegiance Health Announces Tobacco-Free Policy
July 15, 2010
Jackson, Mich. — Acting upon its mission to lead the community to better health and well-being at every stage of life, Allegiance Health has announced that patients will no longer be permitted to smoke or use tobacco products while they are admitted at Allegiance Health facilities. The new policy will begin on Saturday, November 20—in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s national smoke-free day, the “Great American Smokeout.”
“This new policy is not intended to be a barrier to our patients, but to serve as an effective way we can ensure our care environment is meeting the highest clinical standards,“ said Jacalyn Liebowitz, vice president for Patient Care at Allegiance Health. “Tobacco use is the leading cause of disease and death in the United States—and as our community’s health leader, it is our responsibility to aid in improving health and wellness while creating a healthy and safe environment for those who entrust us with their care.”
The new policy requires patients who have been admitted to remain tobacco-free until discharge. Considerable resources will be available to patients who require assistance complying with the new policy. Should a patient refuse to comply and leave the campus to smoke against medical advice, this could be considered a voluntary discharge, an option of last resort according to Liebowitz. “By providing patient education and a number of clinically approved cessation aids, every effort will be made to assist our patients in complying with this policy,” she said.
Allegiance Health presently offers a variety of educational materials and programs to assist patients and the community with resources to quit tobacco use. Within the hospital, Allegiance provides free smoking cessation counseling to each patient.
This policy change reflects a nationwide trend to provide healthier, tobacco- and smoke-free health care environments. The new Allegiance policy will also include an element for all staff and physicians, requiring a smoke-free work day. “As health care workers, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard as we serve those who have entrusted us with their care,” said Dr. Amy Schultz, director of Prevention and Community Health at Allegiance. “Ensuring that our care team is tobacco-free builds our credibility as we work to help patients understand the dramatic health risks of smoking—and the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle.”
For more information regarding the tobacco cessation resources provided by Allegiance Health, visit AllegianceHealth.org/BreatheEasy or call Allegiance Prevention and Community Health, (517) 780-7306.