PITTSBURGH (June 18, 2007) On Sunday, July 1, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) will institute a campus-wide clean air and smoke-free policy to protect patients, visitors and staff from the harmful health effects of secondhand smoke. The policy will prohibit smoking on any UPMC-owned or leased property, including its grounds, garages and parking lots.
It is vitally important that people in our community are able to access UPMC facilities that are smoke-free and healthy, said Elizabeth Concordia, senior vice president, academic and community hospitals, UPMC, and president, UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside. In the interest of the publics health, especially the well-being of those most vulnerable, our patients and children, we are taking action to set the standard for an environment that promotes good health.
Secondhand smoke is a proven health hazard, leading to heart disease, lung and other cancers, chronic lung disease and even premature death. Given these dangers, UPMC convened a task force in 2006 to put a smoke-free plan into place and developed tools to help ease the transition by assisting patients, visitors and staff members who want to quit smoking. In partnership with the UPMC Health Plan, UPMC is offering staff members and the community smoking cessation classes, counseling services and other resources. UPMC Health Plan also provides many members with coverage for medication to relieve the discomfort often experienced in the early stages of quitting.
As the regions top health care organization, we believe that we need to set a healthy example, said Greg Peaslee, senior vice president, human resources, UPMC. Allowing smoking on our campus, even in designated areas, is not consistent with that commitment.
The clean air and smoke-free policy pertains to all of UPMCs hospitals, offices and other facilities more than 80 sites. Signs communicating the new policy are being installed to ensure awareness of the change, and count-down clocks have been in place for the last several months.
For more information on UPMCs clean air and smoke-free policy, call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) or visit the Web site at www.upmc.com.