Montana Tobacco Free Medical Campus Project
What is the Montana Tobacco Free Medical Campus Project?
In July 2007, the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program started a new initiative to assist hospitals and medical facilities in Montana with the development and implementation of campus-wide tobacco free policies. Such policies support the organization’s mission to improve the health of community members and address the number one cause of preventable disease and death - tobacco use.
Why Create a Tobacco Free Campus?
Hospitals and medical facilities work in many ways to maintain and improve the health of people in their community. Providing an environment for patients, employees, and visitors that promotes and supports healthy lifestyles can help achieve this goal. Policies that create a tobacco-free medical campus contribute to this endeavor by eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke, encouraging tobacco users to quit, and sending a clear message that the use of tobacco does not support good health.
Over the past several years, a growing number of hospitals and medical facilities in Montana and across the nation have created policies that prohibit tobacco use on all areas of their property. Creating a tobacco free environment can result in many positive outcomes:
- Employees and patients have more incentive to quit tobacco and their efforts are more successful.
- Employees are healthier with fewer health-related absences.
- Direct health care costs and insurance premiums for employees may be reduced.
- Increased work productivity when employees are no longer taking smoke breaks.
- Tobacco free patients recover quicker and have fewer complications.
- Decreased liability when inpatients are not going outside to smoke.
- Exposure to secondhand smoke is completely eliminated on the property.
- Without tobacco litter, the campus environment will be more attractive and maintenance costs may decrease.
- The policies of your organization are in alignment with your mission and vision.
- Community members are appreciative of the leadership role your organization has taken on a major public health issue.
What Assistance is Available?
The Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program is offering individualized assistance to hospitals and medical facilities that are interested in pursuing a tobacco free policy. The Project Coordinator will work with key personnel throughout the process of developing and implementing campus-wide tobacco policies. Materials, telephone support, and site visits are available at no cost to the facility. The Project Coordinator is able to assist in the following ways:
- Provide information for hospital administrators, department managers, health care providers, and others to help initiate the process of policy revision.
- Assist with policy formation and the development of an implementation plan.
- Help create cessation assistance options that can be offered to employees.
- Supply sample communication materials and media.
- Identify signage needs and provide free signs for the campus.
- Offer strategies to enhance compliance and support for the new policy.
- Conduct training for staff to enhance their skills to help people quit tobacco.
- Provide educational tools and materials that can be used for patient education.
The following educational materials can be downloaded to provide additional information.