PeaceHealth campuses going smoke-free

Existing ban indoors extends to outdoors at sites starting Jan. 4

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter

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PeaceHealth will ring in the new year with a smoke-free campus policy.

In observance of the annual Great American Smokeout, PeaceHealth officials announced Thursday a new tobacco-free policy for its PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and PeaceHealth Medical Group campuses.

Beginning Jan. 4, smoking and the use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes will no longer be permitted on PeaceHealth campuses in Vancouver. Currently, PeaceHealth allows their use in designated outdoor smoking areas. Those smoking areas will disappear once the new policy becomes effective.

The policy encourages a healthier environment for patients and caregivers, as well as supports PeaceHealth’s mission as a leading health care provider promoting personal and community health, PeaceHealth officials said in a news release.

In preparation for the policy change, PeaceHealth is offering free tobacco cessation classes for its caregivers. The hospital’s outpatient pharmacy on the first floor of the Firstenburg Tower also offers over-the-counter nicotine replacement products.

For those in the community who are trying to quit, Sea Mar Community Health Centers and Clark County Public Health offer free cessation classes. Those classes are 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the Center for Community Health, 1601 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., in Vancouver.

For more information about the free classes or to sign up, call Jill Verbeck, 360-213-1324, or Long Vue, 360-397-8214.

Smoke-free campuses

Other Clark County medical campuses have had smoke-free policies in place for years.

Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center implemented its tobacco-free policy Jan. 1, 2010. The policy prohibits smoking and the use of tobacco and vapor products.

Legacy officials spent 18 months planning to go smoke-free on all Legacy campuses and offered incentives and aids — such as six months of free nicotine gum and lozenges in emergency departments and gift shops — for staff and visitors.

Kaiser Permanente prohibits smoking and tobacco use on all of its campuses — a national policy in place since July 2008. The Vancouver Clinic has had smoke-free campuses dating to at least 2002.