In a few short weeks Claremore Regional Hospital will join several other Northeast Oklahoma hospitals to put an end to tobacco use for good on its campus. On Thursday, Nov. 16, patients, visitors and employees will no longer be permitted to use any tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and smokeless chewing tobacco while on the hospital’s campus.

“We believe it is our responsibility to set a precedence not only in healthcare, but also in our community by eliminating all tobacco use by anyone on our campus,” said David Chaussard, CRH chief executive officer.

Tobacco use inside the hospital was banned over a decade ago, which proved to be a positive change at CRH — patients and visitors all appreciated being able to enter a smoke-free hospital, Chaussard said.

Consequently, people began smoking by the entryways, causing those entering the hospital to walk through a cloud of smoke. Just being exposed to this small amount of smoke can be detrimental to the health of patients and visitors who suffer from lung problems, such as asthma and emphysema.

Smoking is the greatest risk factor for lung cancer and heart disease, which can directly be linked to the deaths of thousands of US citizens every year.

CRH understands that cleaner air is a benefit to everyone’s health. Kicking the habit is not easy and that is why CRH will offer smoking cessation classes in January 2007 to anyone interested in putting down the cigarettes for good.

Brenda Raleigh, CRH education coordinator explained how the class works: “our smoking cessation classes are a seven-week class designed to help tobacco users learn useful tools to help them kick the habit. Class attendees must, however, attend all seven classes to fully benefit from the program.”

CRH has been proactive in educating patients about smoking cessation for over four years, according to Chaussard. Hospital policy states that any patient who is admitted and indicates that he or she is an active smoker receives literature on how to stop smoking to benefit his or her health long range.

“CRH has hundreds of patients and visitors on campus every day. As a result, we are committed to creating an environment that emphasizes healthy habits and wellness for everyone at our hospital,” Chaussard said.

For more information about the CRH smoking cessation classes contact Raleigh at 342-7818.

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