Washington Health System has a tobacco-free policy at all facilities.
"We eliminated tobacco use on our properties to provide a healthy and safe environment for employees, patients and visitors and to promote positive health behaviors," said Gary B. Weinstein, health system president and CEO.
This policy bans the use of all tobacco products on all properties owned, leased or occupied by Washington Health System. This includes parking lots, hospital vehicles and employees' personal vehicles parked on the premises, as well as surrounding streets and sidewalks. This ban includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, and the use of simulated smoking products such as E-cigarettes and other vapor emitting devices. Employees are prohibited from using tobacco products during working hours.
"While we know this may not be easy, it is central to continuing the Washington Health System's mission of providing great patient care," said Weinstein.
The following should answer common questions about our tobacco-free policy. If you have questions or concerns, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why did we do this?
As an institution dedicated to improving the health of our patients and community, we must “walk the talk” and show our commitment and leadership in tangible ways. Tobacco-free property is the standard for many health care institutions, including most of those in western Pennsylvania. While we know this may not be easy, it is central to continuing Washington Health System Washington Hospital’s mission of “Providing Great Patient Care.”
What does it mean to be tobacco-free?
Tobacco-free means all tobacco products are prohibited in Washington Hospital facilities and on its properties. This includes cigars, cigarettes, pipe smoking, smokeless (chewing) tobacco and all other tobacco products.
Don’t we have a right to smoke?
There is no legal right to smoke. On the other hand, companies have a right to create a tobacco-free environment within their properties and facilities. This initiative is consistent with our goals of supporting good health and wellness.
Can I smoke or use chewing tobacco inside my car?
If your car is parked in a Washington Hospital owned or leased parking lot, you cannot smoke or use tobacco because the lot is part of our tobacco-free zone.
How will patients who use tobacco seek help?
Upon admission, patients will be encouraged to tell staff members if they would like help with tobacco alternatives to get them through their hospitalization without tobacco use. They will be offered resources to assist them.
Can patients go off campus to smoke or use other tobacco products?
Patients will not be granted permission to leave for this purpose. Instead, they should make known their desire for assistance with not smoking.
Why shouldn’t smokers continue to be allowed to smoke in designated areas?
We have learned that designated areas do not protect non-smokers from the effects of secondhand smoke. In addition to increasing the risk of premature death among nonsmokers, secondhand smoke can worsen pulmonary symptoms in people with asthma and chronic bronchitis, as well as increase eye irritation, sore throats and nausea.
Smoking / Tobacco Cessation Resources