Effective October 1, Columbus Children’s Hospital and all affiliated campuses will be entirely smoke free. While Children’s has been smoke free for all employees since 2004, visitors have been able to smoke in designated smoking areas. However, as of October 1, designated areas will no longer be available and visitors will also be asked not to smoke in vehicles parked on campus.
Both the indoors and outdoors of any property owned or leased by Children’s will implement the smoking cessation policy. Tobacco products prohibited include: cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe smoking and snuff.
According to Children’s CEO Steve Allen, M.D., this initiative was developed to enhance the Children’s experience. “A smoke free campus fits with our mission as advocates for the health of our patients, their families and our employees,” Allen said. The goal of a smoke free campus is to provide a safe and healthy environment as well as promote and encourage healthy lifestyles throughout the community.
Smoking and the use of tobacco products are major causes of preventable disease and death in the United States. More than 4,800 different chemicals have been identified in cigarette smoke, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to young children, causing anywhere from 150,000 to 3000,000 lower respiratory infections in infants and children under 18 months. Secondhand smoke is also known to cause adverse health complications in children such as asthma, increased cold and ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Because Children’s understands the heightened anxiety a family feels during the illness of a child, nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) will be made available to visitors to help deal with the physical symptoms of not smoking. Other resources are available to those who wish to quit smoking, including the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line, 1-800-QUIT-NOW.