Virginia Beach, VA – December 27, 2007
– New Year’s Day 2008 marks the beginning of Tobacco Free Environments, or TFEs, at three Sentara Healthcare campuses in Virginia Beach.
Sentara Virginia Beach General and Sentara Bayside Hospitals, and the Sentara Princess Anne Health Campus will go 100% tobacco-free. That means no smoking or smokeless tobacco products anywhere on those campuses, including in vehicles on the parking lots, for staff, patients, visitors and vendors.
“It’s appropriate for a hospital to ban tobacco,” says Raymond Troiano, M.D., vice president and administrator of Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. “We see the effects of tobacco every day in heart disease, respiratory ailments and cancer.”
Troiano, a neurologist, says the policy creates a positive environment that exemplifies Sentara’s mission statement; We Improve Health Every Day. 300 flags to represent those affected by tobacco
At Sentara Virginia Beach General, 300 small blue flags bearing the ‘Live the Mission’ logo will be planted on the hospital lawn along First Colonial Road on January 1st. Each flag is signed by someone whose life has been touched by tobacco.
“They may have lost someone to a tobacco-related disease or survived one,” says Theresa Ceniccola, marketing manager. “They may have quit tobacco themselves and committed to a healthier life. Each flag represents a personal story tied to tobacco.” TFE facilities prepared staff for change
“This culminates a year-long process,” says June Robertson, RN, director of ambulatory services at Sentara Virginia Beach General. “We’ve been talking this up all over the campus and preparing our staff for the big day.”
The TFE facilities have offered tobacco cessation classes, at-cost medications and other incentives for employees and their spouses to quit tobacco prior to implementation. Former tobacco users have volunteered to be trained as tobacco cessation facilitators. One of them is lung cancer survivor Kim Schmidt, RN, a nurse in the emergency department at Sentara Virginia Beach General.
“It took a cancer diagnosis to get me to quit smoking,” says Schmidt. “If I can help one other co-worker quit tobacco, it’s worth the time I’ve invested supporting TFE.” Other Sentara facilities to go TFE in 2008
Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk will go tobacco-free on Independence Day, July 4, 2008. On November 20th, the day of the annual Great American Smokeout, Sentara’s
corporate office campus in Norfolk, the Optima Health building in Virginia Beach and other Sentara offices and operations centers will also go tobacco free. Preparations at those sites are on-going.
“We want this to be a positive program,” Dr. Troiano emphasizes. “We’re not out to punish or embarrass anyone. However, our staff has been trained to tactfully advise patients, visitors and vendors of our policy and to enforce it reasonably.
“And, nicotine gum is available for visitors while they’re on campus.”
“Quitting tobacco is a journey, not an event,” says Alverine Mack, RN, a certified tobacco treatment specialist with Sentara Health and Preventive Services. “Our job is to create a positive, supportive environment for those people who choose to quit and to help them along the way.”