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Howard County General Hospital Goes Smoke Free

For Immediate Release
October 23, 2007
Sharon Sopp

Howard County General Hospital Goes Smoke Free

Columbia, MD – Beginning November 15, 2007, the campus of Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine will be smoke-free. “As the leading health care provider in the community, our mission is to create a healthy environment for everyone who comes on our campus,” said Victor A. Broccolino president/CEO. “It is important that our organization lead the way in setting standards to improve the health of our employees, patients and visitors.”

The hospital chose to implement the policy on November 15 to coincide with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke Out. Beginning that day, smoking will be prohibited throughout the entire HCGH campus, including all buildings, parking lots and grounds.

HCGH has been informing patients, visitors and staff about the change since late summer through a hospital wide campaign called “Breathe Easy – HCGH is Smoke Free.”

“Although the policy is an anti-smoking policy, not an anti-smoker policy, we do encourage staff, patients and visitors alike to consider quitting,” said Jay Blackman, executive VP/COO, who led the hospital’s smoke free task force that developed the plan. HCGH is offering reduced cost smoking cessation classes for its employees

Recognizing that some patients do smoke, the hospital has developed a nicotine replacement protocol to assist inpatients while they are hospitalized. Initial nursing assessments take into consideration a patient’s use of nicotine and, with a doctor’s order, the patient may receive a nicotine patch, inhaler or gum.

Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine since 1998 is a 219-bed, not-for-profit, health care provider located in Columbia, Maryland. Serving the community since 1973, the hospital, with a professional staff of over 800 physicians and allied health professionals, representing more than 70 specialties and subspecialties, and a workforce of more than 1,700, has grown into a comprehensive, acute-care medical center that treats a full range of conditions from neonatal care to oncology and outpatient care to critical care.