February 28, 2011

All UW Medicine hospitals to become smoke- and tobacco-free environments

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Quit for Life

Washington state Quitline

Hall Health Smoking Cessation

World Health Organization’s 2011 World No Tobacco Day

Tobacco use in and around hospitals poses health and safety risks and adversely impacts medical treatment.

To provide a smoke-free environment for everyone, UW Medical Center (UWMC) and Harborview Medical Center (HMC) will become smoke- and tobacco-free facilities May 31, in concert with the World Health Organizations “World No Tobacco Day.”

All designated smoking areas will be phased out on UWMC and HMC campuses. The two medical centers will join Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, which has been smoke free since 2005, and more than half of the other King County hospitals – 13 out of 21 – that are already smoke free.

Committees that included physicians, nurses, pharmacists, administrators, patient advisors, staff and people who smoke spearheaded the smoke-free initiative at each hospital.

The teams outlined two key objectives for this initiative:

  • to create a safe and healthy smoke- and tobacco-free environment for everyone; and
  • to provide support and resources for all patients, visitors and staff to quit or remain tobacco free while on our campuses.

Starting in June, all patients will be screened for smoking and tobacco use status. Nicotine replacement therapy and counseling will be offered to patients who request it, and one day supplies of nicotine replacement therapy will be available at cost for staff and visitors.

Patients will be referred to appropriate community resources at discharge, including the Washington State Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), an effective, evidence-based tobacco cessation program available to all Washington state residents.

Each hospital is providing information and resources to help staff quit or remain tobacco free at work. Staff with UW benefits will have free access to the Quit for Life Program.

All UW students have free access to the Smoking Cessation Program at Hall Health.

Jane Cardoso at UWMC and Drew Eskridge at HMC are managing the tobacco-free initiatives at their respective facilities.