Chattanooga, Tenn. – Beginning Thursday, all Erlanger Health System properties will be tobacco-free.
“We chose November 21, Great American Smokeout, to honor those making the decision to live tobacco-free,” said Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, Erlanger Health System president and CEO.
“As a tobacco-free workplace we are committed not only to our patients’ health but also to the employees and partners who work here.”
Erlanger has joined numerous other companies, including other local health care facilities, to be completely tobacco-free. The use of all tobacco products will be prohibited at all Erlanger campuses, physician practices, medical facilities, parking lots and garages and inside vehicles parked on the properties. Out of respect for Erlanger’s neighbors, many who are also tobacco-free businesses, Erlanger officials have directed those who work at Erlanger facilities to refrain from using tobacco products within a three block radius. Tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipes and any device designed to transmit or convey tobacco smoke (e.g. electronic cigarettes) or related inhalant.
“As the region’s leading health care system, Erlanger continues to serve as a prime example for the health in our communities,” said Erlanger’s Chief Medical Officer, James Creel, M.D. “While we are encouraging our patients to make healthy decisions and appropriate lifestyle changes, it is only fitting that our employees, volunteers, physicians, vendors and contractors we partner with also take the necessary steps to make it a healthy and safe working environment.”
The care of patients remains Erlanger’s number one priority. That includes providing assistance to those who use tobacco products. Other individuals who work, visit, or partner with Erlanger are encouraged to refrain from using tobacco products while on its properties. Information on smoking cessation products and a free cessation program is available for employees.
Erlanger visitors who use tobacco products may contact the American Lung Association at 800-548-8252 or www.ffsonline.org, visit the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org, call the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine for a free quit coach at 1-800-Quit-Now or http://health.state.tn.us/tobaccoquitline.shtml , or ask their physician how they can participate in a tobacco-free lifestyle.