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Posted by . on Jan 24th, 2014 10:40am

As the country recently marked the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking US Surgeon General's Report warning the public of the dangers of tobacco use – including this week's release of a follow-up report from the current Surgeon General that updates smoking's devastating health effects – Massachusetts hospitals continue to advance this important public health effort through the third year of their statewide tobacco-free campaign. Under the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA)'s HEALING Inside and Out: Tobacco-Free Hospitals initiative, more than 76% of member hospitals now completely ban the use of tobacco products anywhere on their campuses.

These facilities have earned inclusion on MHA's Tobacco-free Honor Roll, and have self-reported they ban the use of tobacco across their campus including parking lots and garages, with absolutely no exceptions. Tobacco-Free hospitals also have policies that eliminate employee, patient and visitor exposure to tobacco smoke and assist employees and patients to quit smoking.

Then Surgeon General Luther Terry, who had been a smoker himself, issued the tobacco findings on January 11, 1964, just weeks after the assassination President John F. Kennedy, who had appointed Terry. The report stated unequivocally that smoking causes illness and death.

Many of us can hardly imagine the prevalence of tobacco products in American society at the time Dr. Terry's report came out, but tobacco use was rampant 50 years ago. At that time, more than 42 percent of adult Americans smoked, and smoking was permitted almost everywhere – including in hospitals. To come from that point to a complete ban of all tobacco on 76% of our member hospitals' campuses is an incredible achievement. And I'm extremely proud of MHA's role in support of such important and life-saving work.

In addition, some hospitals in Massachusetts, as well as MHA, have taken their commitment to public health a step beyond instituting a tobacco-free campus and have adopted tobacco-free hiring policies as well. MHA stopped hiring tobacco users as of January 1, 2011. The Boston Business Journal just wrote about this latest advance on its healthcare blog.

A list of hospitals in Massachusetts that no longer hire tobacco users and MHA's Tobacco-Free Hospitals Honor Roll is below. To learn more about MHA's HEALING: Inside & Out initiative, visit MHA's web pages dedicated to the effort.

The following hospitals no longer hire tobacco users:

  • Anna Jaques Hospital
  • Cooley Dickinson Hospital
  • Heywood Hospital
  • MetroWest Medical Center
  • New England Baptist Hospital
  • Saint Vincent Hospital

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