Health System Implements Tobacco-Free Campus

BRUNSWICK, Georgia: Nov. 21, 2011– In an effort to provide a healthier environment for patients, visitors and team members, Southeast Georgia Health System is going tobacco-free on March 21, 2012. After this time, no tobacco use of any kind will be permitted — inside or outside — on any Health System property. Under this new policy, all patients, visitors, residents, medical staff members, team members and vendors are asked to refrain from tobacco use of any kind on al Health System facilities including hospital campuses, parking lots, grounds, rental properties and off-campus facilities such as primary care centers and immediate care centers.

“As a health care organization, we are committed to the health and safety of our employees and patients. We believe that we have a responsibility to take a leadership role on this major health issue, and establishing our entire campus as tobacco-free firmly supports that belief,” says Health System President & CEO, Gary R. Colberg, FACHE.

The US Surgeon General has confirmed that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is a serious health hazard and that there is no risk-free level of exposure. Tobacco use in and around hospitals poses health and safety risks for patients, employees and visitors.

While the new policy will ban the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes and smokeless tobacco on its properties, Health System representatives state that it is not an attempt to force anyone to quit using tobacco products. Rather, “the tobacco-free initiative is a concrete way to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to healthy living,” says Colberg. In line with this commitment, the Health System will begin offering tobacco cessation classes to team members and their family members covered by our benefit plans, medical staff members and volunteers on November 22.