Maine Hospital Association Position Statement on Tobacco-Free Hospitals

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined[1]. Specifically, cigarette smoking causes approximately 443,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
The adult smoking rate in Maine is 18%, and 11% of high school students smoke[2]. Maine ranks 25th among the states[3].
Smoke-free policies decrease smoking rates. For example, Mayo Clinic reported a decrease from 17% to 12% employee smoking prevalence two years after the campus policy was implemented[4]. According to American Hospital Association, 76% of hospitals nationally have gone 100% tobacco-free[5] and 79% offer tobacco cessation programs to their employees[6]. The American Hospital Association’s A Call to Action:  Creating a Culture of Health, issued in January 2011, recommends that hospitals “serve as a role model of health for the community.”  Within their Call to Action, the AHA notes that all hospitals can have smoke-free campuses and encourages hospitals to make smoking cessation mandatory for all[7].
The Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network provides technical assistance to hospitals interested in adopting smoke and tobacco-free policies and annually recognizes hospitals that implement best practices[8].  In 2012, 28 Maine hospitals were recognized for their work at the gold, silver or bronze level.[9]

Position:                                                                                                                                            Due to the many benefits that smoke and tobacco-free hospitals bring to patients, employees and the community at-large, the Maine Hospital Association Board of Directors commends these hospitals and encourages every member hospital to consider implementing a 100% smoke and tobacco-free campus policy. Hospitals are also encouraged to provide information about tobacco addiction and appropriate referrals to smoking cessation programs for their patients, visitors and employees.
[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health Effects Fact Sheet Tobacco-Related Mortality., December 3, 2012.
[2] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention., December 3, 2012.
[4] WikkiHealthCare., December 3, 2012.
[5] American Hospital Association., page 11, December 3, 2012.
[6] ibid.
[7] ibid, page 22
[8] Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Partnership for a Tobacco Free Maine, December 3, 2012.
[9] Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network., December 3, 2012.