River Parishes Hospital campus now designated tobacco free
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 26, 2011
By ROBIN SHANNON
LAPLACE – Earlier this month, River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace joined nearly 5,000 hospitals across the nation by becoming a completely tobacco-free facility. No tobacco use of any kind is allowed anywhere on hospital property.
Marci Jeandron, director of business development for the hospital, said the initiative, which has been in the works for the past three months, includes the elimination of designated areas outside, where employees, patients and visitors were allowed to smoke.
“This includes vehicles in the parking lot, as well as the property adjacent to the hospital along Rue de Saint,” Jeandron said. “We sent out letters to neighboring businesses and our ambulance services and also prepared information for employees, so we were prepared.”
Jeandron said the move is part of an initiative to promote a healthier lifestyle for employees and patients alike. She said the hospital administration wanted to take a leadership role in what is a major health issue for thousands.
“According to the Surgeon General, there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke,” she said. “It was an obvious move for our campus because we are encouraging a healthy body and mind for employees and our patients.”
Jeandron added the move comes just in time for the nationally celebrated Great American Smoke-out on Nov. 17. She said the hospital will be holding seminars on smoking and what can be done for those who want to quit for good.
Tobacco is the No. 1 cause of preventable disease in the United States, resulting in more than 443,000 deaths per year, according to figures from the U.S. Surgeon General. Jeandron said the hospital provided several programs and methods to aid employees in quitting but added the tobacco-free mandate was not an attempt to force anyone to quit. She said it was more of a concrete way of demonstrating the hospital’s commitment to healthier living.
“The change has gone incredibly smoothly,” she said. “We have made information available on the hospital’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. It was a challenge for some of our employees, but the initiative has been very well received.”