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Lake District Hospital campus will go tobacco-free, May 1

Lake District Hospital campus will go tobacco-free, May 1

Come May 1, you’d best snuff that butt well before the entrance to Lake District Hospital.

The hospital facility will officially become a completely tobacco-free campus as of Thursday, May 1, joining a multitude of facilities throughout the state.

Linda Michaelson, who serves as the chair for a committee that’s been working for the past year to develop this policy, said that informational outreach in the form of brochures and other means are part of the effort to promoting healthier choices for staff and visitors.

“We’re offering lots of information and brochures (related to) chewing tobacco and cigarettes,” she said.  “Even electronic cigarettes have nicotine in them.”

Michaleson noted that the decision to create a smoke-free campus largely stemmed from a sense of obligation, as a health care facility, to promoting optimal health-related decisions.

Local physicians are also assisting the effort in a proactive fashion, she said, making available a myriad of items to aid in breaking the habit, such as gum, patches and even prescription products.

Registered Respiratory Therapist Theresa Conklin also leads a series of smoking cessation classes, Michaelson said.

The recent marketing onslaught of electronic cigarettes doesn’t acknowledge the health risks associated with these products.  E-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that is not regulated and, in pure form, poisonous.

There is also no proof that the vapor of e-cigarettes is safe for smoking or those breathing second hand vapor, according to a BeTobaccoFree.gov.

Traditional tobacco smoke, however, contains more than 7,000 chemicals, and affects personal health on a variety of fronts, include mouth/teeth, throat, lungs and the heart.

State regulations call for smokers to be at least 10 feet away from windows and entrances to the hospital, but the district’s policy calls for a minimum distance of 25 feet, Michaelson said.

In light of the new policy, smokers will have to smoke in their vehicles or elsewhere completely off campus, she said, noting that receptacles for extinguished cigarettes would be placed in the parking lots.

Michaelson said that 90 percent of hospitals in Oregon are tobacco-free campuses.

For more information, contact Lake District Hospital, located at 700 S. J St., at 541-947-2114.

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