Windham Hospital “Kicks the Habit”
WILLIMANTIC, CT – October 31, 2008 – Windham Hospital will become a smoke-free campus in November. As part of a statewide initiative to which all Connecticut hospitals are committed, Windham Hospital has begun working toward the goal of becoming completely smoke-free. Organizers say that hospitals are logical advocates for smoking cessation programs, because hospitals are promoters and role models for healthy habits. The World Health Organization, in December, 2005, adopted a policy of hiring only non-smokers. While Windham Hospital’s campaign stops short of such practices, officials commented that “we would certainly encourage people to stop smoking.”
To help smokers “kick the habit,” Windham Hospital has been hosting the American Lung Association’s “Freedom from Smoking” program--an 8-week class designed to assist smokers in their quest to stop smoking. The first of the classes met during September, and a second group is in session now (would-be “quitters” can join simply by dropping in on the class on November 3 or November 10 at 8 AM). All members of the community and Hospital staff are welcome. A $50 fee covers class time, materials, and snacks. For hospital employees, the fee will be waived, and pharmaceutical aids and “the patch” will be provided at no charge. According to facilities manager Ed Bussiere, “The smoking shelters which have been on the grounds of the Hospital will be removed, and donated to a non-profit organization.” After November 20, smoking will not be permitted anywhere on the campus of Windham Hospital—including parking lots, sidewalks, gardens, and lawns.
“We are committed to a healthy hospital and a healthy lifestyle,” says organizer John Flood, who also serves as Windham Hospital’s Director of Cardio-Pulmonary Services, “and we hope many people will take advantage of this program and quit smoking.” Dr. Robert Bundy, pulmonologist, and the Hospital’s Medical Director adds, “Windham Hospital’s mission is not only to restore health, but to prevent disease and act as an advocate for healthy living. This initiative certainly reflects that mission of advocacy.” The Campaign will continue through November, 2008, and will include a special celebration on November 20th—the date of “The Great American Smoke-Out.” That event will take place in the Hospital Atrium, where representatives from the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the Connecticut Hospital Association, Windham Hospital’s Cancer and Oncology Departments, and the Hospital Employee Health Office will be on hand to answer questions, distribute information, and encourage people to “kick the habit.” All are welcome.