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Medical center says “no” to tobacco

Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC), a leading Maryland hospital, is reinforcing its commitment to wellness and the fight against tobacco usage with an expanded tobacco policy.

Effective July 1, 2014, the revised policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. One year later, starting July 1, 2015, Anne Arundel Medical Center will take a leadership position as a major employer in Maryland and stop hiring nicotine users.

While Anne Arundel Medical Center has been “smoke-free” since 2007, the current policy has been primarily focused on the medical park campus and has been limited to cigarette use. The expanded policy will apply to all AAMC facilities and tobacco-free zones will include sidewalks, parking lots, and garages. There will be no areas designated for smoking or other tobacco use. The policy applies to all employees, physicians, patients, contract staff, vendors, volunteers, students, and visitors at all AAMC facilities.

“Going tobacco-free is a global public health goal. Smoking and tobacco use are the leading cause of preventable death worldwide,” says Stephen Cattaneo, MD, medical director of thoracic oncology in the DeCesaris Cancer Institute at AAMC. “We are not only dedicated to the preservation of health and prevention of disease, but we also want to provide a safe and healthy work environment and promote the health and well-being of our employees, visitors, and patients.”

“As healthcare providers, we have a unique perspective on the issues surrounding chronic disease. We not only treat disease, but we are also role models for good health behaviors in our community. It is only right to practice what we preach,” says John Martin, MD, AAMC’s medical director of vascular surgery.

The revised policy also means that starting July 1, 2015 the hospital will not hire individuals who use tobacco products. This policy does not apply to current employees who use tobacco. “By adopting this practice, we are joining many other prominent organizations, such as the Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger Health System, and the World Health Organization in becoming tobacco-free,” says Cattaneo.

AAMC provides tobacco cessation resources to community members—including employees—who want help quitting. Free resources include classes and private one-on-one sessions with tobacco treatment specialists, as well as FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies at free or reduced cost.

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