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Smoke-Free Initiative

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In our continuing effort to lead the way toward a healthier lifestyle, Jackson Health System and its affiliate, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, have taken steps to improve the health and well-being of our patients, visitors, students and employees. Knowing that tobacco smoke is a proven health hazard to both smokers and non-smokers alike, and tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, tobacco use is not consistent with our healthcare mission. Therefore, all properties owned or leased by Jackson and UM are smoke-free environments. This means that in addition to the buildings, which are already smoke-free, smoking is not permitted in any outdoor areas, including parking garages or in parked vehicles.

By eliminating involuntary smoke exposure, we ensure a healthy environment for all people who receive medical care, work, study and visit our facilities. Recently, a report by the Institute of Medicine further validates this action.  Researchers nationwide have examined studies from around the world and definitively determined that smoking bans in public places clearly reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart disease from primary inhalation and second hand exposure.

Our goal will be to continuously offer encouragement and education toward a smoke-free lifestyle.  Violations of the policy will be addressed by volunteer ambassadors, emphasizing the promotion of improved health and availability of free classes. 

To view our Smoke-Free Campus Policy, please click here.

Become a Smoke-Free Ambassador

Are you a wellness advocate interested in becoming a Smoke Free Campus Ambassador?

We would like to get the students and employees who share a common interest and practice of wellness in the work environment involved in this very worthwhile and healthy program. By becoming a Smoke Free Ambassador, you are empowered to approach smokers and would politely advise them that this is a smoke free environment. As an Ambassador, you will be the agent of change for a healthy environment. You will also receive an ambassador's package with FAQs brochure and tobacco cessation resources card to give away while advising a smoker.

For more information or to sign-up to become a Smoke Free Campus Ambassador, contact Guadalupe (Lupe) Barroso at 305-585-5319 or email guadalupe.barroso@jhsmami.org.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Why is Jackson Health System going smoke-free?
A. We are committed to promoting the health, well-being and safety of the staff, students, faculty, patients, and visitors to our campus. Tobacco smoke is a proven health and safety hazard both to smokers and to non-smokers who are involuntarily exposed to the serious health risks of second hand smoke. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and tobacco use is not consistent with our healthcare mission. 

Q. Are other hospitals and health centers going tobacco/smoke free?
A. The Florida Hospital Association supports a Tobacco-Free Florida and encourages hospitals to establish and implement a tobacco-free campus policy. At this time, approximately 70 hospitals in the state now have tobacco-free campuses.

Q. Why did you select smoke free rather than other health risks as the focus? 
A. In addition to the state's increasing incidence of cancer, many people are not aware of the negative impact that use of tobacco/smoking has on health:

  • Tobacco/smoking is a lead factor in heart disease, cancer stroke and lung disease.
  • According to the National Cancer Institute, in the United States, approximately 38,000 deaths each year are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Smoking costs the U.S. approximately $97.2 billion annually in health care and lost productivity.
  • Patients who smoke regularly before surgery have twice the risk of wound infections as non-smokers.
  • Smoking slows wound healing.
  • Broken bones take nearly twice as long to heal for smokers.

Q. Who do the smoke-free guidelines apply to?
A. The smoke-free guidelines apply to everyone on or at Jackson Health System and UHealth medical facilities or property - including employees, faculty, students, patients, family members, visitors, volunteers, contractors, subcontractors, vendors, etc. This includes people in the JHS and UM buildings, parking lots and vehicles on the campus.

Q. What will JHS and UM do about people leaving the campus or going across the street or into neighboring properties to smoke?
A. We expect employees to be ambassadors and representatives of our organizations and respect neighboring properties outside our campus. We will enforce work rules that outline when employees can take breaks and if they can leave campus on their breaks. JHS and UM personnel will patrol our campus and the immediate surrounding areas and ask people not to smoke in the vicinity.

We will ask employees, patients and visitors not to trespass on private properties surrounding our campus. Private property owners have the right to enforce their boundaries including trespass warnings, etc.

Q. Are you trying to dictate people's lifestyle choices? 
A. No. We believe that tobacco use is harmful to people's health. We also realize the use of tobacco is a personal choice. We are asking people to refrain from tobacco use - i.e., adapt their behaviors - while they are working on or visiting our campus and properties.

Q. Can people smoke in personal or state vehicles while on the health system campuses?
A. The use of tobacco products is prohibited on our health campuses. This includes vehicles parked on JHS and UM properties and in our parking lots and garages. People found smoking in their vehicles will be asked to stop. Repeat violators will be reported to JHS and UM security personnel respectively. Employees who repeatedly violate policy will be reported to their supervisor.

Q. Who is responsible for reporting people who use tobacco products in prohibited areas?
A. We expect employees to be ambassadors and representatives of our organizations. We now call on our staff and customers to model health-promoting behaviors while at Jackson or UM. Employees who know someone is using tobacco on one of our healthcare campuses are encouraged to politely explain our policy and either share the Patient/Visitor Resource Card or directions to other available resources and information.

If a patient or visitor repeatedly violates the tobacco-free policy, employees are encouraged to notify someone on the patient's healthcare team or security personnel. If an employee repeatedly violates the tobacco-free policy, another employee can report them to a supervisor or security personnel.

Q. What will happen if employees do not adhere to the non-smoking policy while on campus?
A. Non-compliant employees who do not cooperate or repeatedly violate work rules and guidelines will be reported to their supervisor. The supervisor will be responsible for enforcing work rules for their staff. We will follow standard disciplinary procedures for compliance problems.

Q. Will employees be able to leave campus to smoke during the work day?
A. JHS and UM will enforce the non-smoking policy that provide employees with guidelines for taking breaks, taking lunch and leaving campus during the work day. JHS and UM security will patrol the medical campuses and the immediate surrounding areas and ask people not to smoke in the vicinity. 

Q. What about employees located in non-clinical buildings?
A. All employees will be expected to support and adhere to policies.

Q. Are employees prohibited from bringing tobacco products to work or just using these products on campus?
A. Employees are not prohibited from bringing tobacco products to work. The use of tobacco products is prohibited on our health campuses. This includes vehicles parked on JHS and UM campus properties and in our parking lots and garages.

Q. Where can patients smoke?
A. JHS and UM patients will not be allowed to smoke on or within the vicinity of our medical campuses or in vehicles owned by JHS and UM. Physicians on the medical staffs will prescribe medical intervention for nicotine-addicted patients as needed.

Q. Will you offer resources for patients who smoke?
A. Physicians on the JHS and UM medical staffs will prescribe medical intervention for nicotine-addicted patients as needed. These interventions may include the nicotine patch, etc. We will also share state and national resources (including hotlines, web sites, etc.) with all patients and visitors who wish to stop smoking.

Q. Will there be any designated smoking areas for patients, students, visitors, faculty and staff to use?
A. Offering smoking areas does not support our goal to create a healthy environment for our patients, visitors and staff. We want to eliminate the triggers and temptations that make it hard for people to stop smoking.

Q. How does the smoke free program work for patients? 
A. If you are a JHS or UM patient and you would like access to resources about becoming smoke free, please let your healthcare provider know. Inpatients will be assessed for free nicotine patches and other resources to help them manage cravings and/or quit smoking.

Q. How will physicians support this program?
A. JHS, UM Miller School of Medicine, and our community physicians on the JHS and UM medical staffs recognize the important health benefits of avoiding tobacco use. They will assess nicotine-addicted patients and prescribe medical intervention as needed.

Q. Will you offer resources for visitors who want to smoke? 
A. Visitors will not be permitted to smoke while on our property or in our facilities. Employees will be asked to share resource information with visitors.

Q. Having a loved one hospitalized can be very stressful. How does this policy support our patients' families?
A. Our goal is to educate and promote wellness by preventing smoking on our campus. We will also offer resources to help people quit smoking. If family members of hospitalized patients wish to smoke, they will have to leave our campuses.

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Secondhand Smoke Exposure

  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes heart disease and lung cancer in non-smoking adults.
  • Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their heart disease risk by 25-30% and their lung cancer risk by 20-30%.
  • Breathing secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the cardiovascular system that can increase the risk of heart attack. People who already have heart disease are at especially high risk.
  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes respiratory symptoms in children and slows their lung growth.
  • Secondhand smoke causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks in children.
  • There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure. Even brief exposure can be dangerous.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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