The Mercy Hospital Clermont campus is going tobacco-free starting the first of the year.
Mercy Hospital Clermont banned smoking several years ago inside the building for the obvious health benefits; this new policy will prohibit smoking (and all other types of tobacco use) everywhere on the hospital grounds, including all of the hospital’s entrances, the parking lots, and even inside private vehicles that are parked on the hospital property.
Mercy Hospital Clermont Public Relations Director Pete Gemmer said that the new tobacco-free policy will ban the use of all tobacco products on the hospital’s campus.
“This includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco,” he said.
Before judging the new policy too harshly, Gemmer points out that smoking has no place in or around the hospital environment.
"Tobacco use, specifically smoking, is one of the top four causes of death in the United States," he said. "Patients who smoke regularly before surgery have twice the risk of wound infection and it has been shown that it also slows the healing process. It is known that smoking can also lead to many cancers and coronary heart disease."
Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and more than 50 of those are known carcinogens, Gemmer said.
The hospital is so committed to implementing this new tobacco-free policy that they will be offering free smoking cessation courses for all hospital employees, physicians, and volunteers who have a desire to quit smoking.
"We are not asking anyone to quit smoking," said Mercy Clermont President and CEO Mark Shugarman. "However, for those employees, physicians, and volunteers who smoke and would like to stop, we are providing these free courses to help support their efforts."
A nationwide movement gaining momentum, the tobacco-free hospital effort, was initiated by the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. Thus far, the policy will be implemented by Jan. 1, 2007 in more than 20 other hospitals in the greater Cincinnati area (including hospitals in Adams and Brown counties).
According to Shugarman, the new policy is designed to provide a safe and salubrious healing environment.
"Mercy Hospital Clermont is committed to developing and implementing programs that create a culture of health and wellness," he said. "As a healthcare institution, we are a model for healthy behaviors for our communities. By becoming a tobacco-free campus, we are taking another step in providing a healthy, healing environment for all who work, visit, or receive medical care at our hospital."