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Cambridge Health Alliance to Go Tobacco-Free in 2012

MASSACHUSETTS – In keeping with its mission to improve the health of its communities, Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) will be tobacco-free effective January 1, 2012. The initiative applies to all of the properties owned and leased by CHA, including the Cambridge, Somerville, and Whidden Hospital campuses as well as CHA’s network of primary and specialty care centers.

“This is an important step to protect the health of our patients and provide a healthy environment for them and for those of us who work here,” said Allison Bayer, CHA’s Acting Chief Executive Officer in a press release earlier this week.

“While we recognize this may be a difficult transition for some patients and staff, the new policy reinforces our status as a national leader in community health promotion and shows local residents that we are serious about our commitment to their health.”

To support staff members who would like to quit, CHA launched a comprehensive tobacco cessation program on November 17, the date of the Great American Smokeout. CHA also offers one-on-one smoking cessation counseling at four CHA health centers for patients as well as a weekly, six-session smoking cessation group that is free and open to any CHA patient.

CHA is committed to the promotion of quality health care, which includes the prevention of disease. With this commitment comes the responsibility of providing a safe and healthy environment for patients, visitors, and staff. Tobacco use of any kind will not be permitted on CHA’s properties. This includes the removal of all designated smoking areas outside CHA facilities where patients, visitors, and employees currently use tobacco products.

Tobacco use is a leading cause of lung disease and cancer, and, in an effort to reduce its impact, hospitals across the nation have become tobacco-free. According to the Massachusetts Hospital Association, more than half of the hospitals in the state are already tobacco-free, and others are expected to join in 2012.

For more information about CHA can help you quit, please call 617-591-6922.

Cambridge Health Alliance is an integrated award-winning health system that provides high quality care in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s metro-north communities. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices, and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Tufts University School of Medicine. Visit us online at www.challiance.org.

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