POINT PLEASANT — Pleasant Valley Hospital, and all its properties, will be going tobacco free on Thursday, Nov. 15 — the Great American Smokeout Day.
In this day and age, it’s more unusual for health care facilities, as well as businesses, not to be smoke and tobacco free due to the documented health and safety risks of smoking.
PVH will step up to join these smoke-free entities which serve the public by banning all tobacco from the hospital and its ancillary facilities. This initiative will include the elimination of designated areas outside these locations where employees, patients and visitors are currently permitted to use tobacco products.
“As a health care organization, we are committed to the health and safety of our employees and patients,” Tom Schauer, CEO said. “We believe that we have a responsibility to take a leadership role on this major health issue, and establishing our entire campus and ancillary facilities as tobacco-free firmly supports that belief.”
According to Tracy Stewart Call, director of community relations for PVH, the hospital’s decision to go tobacco free is not an attempt to force anyone to quit using tobacco products.
“Rather, the tobacco-free initiative is a concrete way we can support our employees who do not smoke and those who may attempt to quit as well as demonstrate our overall commitment to healthy living,” Call said.
“We are providing opportunities for our employees who do smoke to participate in smoking cessation classes. Additionally, we are making FDA approved cessation products available to them in our pharmacy and gift shop.”
Of course change does not always come easily. Call said the hospital’s security staff is working with a public relations representative from the local police department to provide expert guidance on how best to communicate the message.
“In particular, how best to communicate with those who may be in violation of our tobacco-free policy,” Call said. “Likewise, directors and managers are being trained to deliver our tobacco-free message in a non-confrontational manner. A physician once told me as hard as it is to quit smoking and the use of tobacco products, it is even harder to fight cancer.”
As PVH joins other hospitals across West Virginia and the United States by going tobacco free, Call said: “This initiative is consistent with our commitment to the promotion of living a healthier life.”