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Saint Joseph's Health System Goes Tobacco-Free

Armen Hareyan's picture


All facilities of Saint Joseph's Health System have been designated "tobacco-free," effective July 2.

Facilities include Saint Joseph's Hospital campus, associated doctor's buildings and adjacent areas; Saint Joseph's Mercy Care Services sites on Decatur Street in Atlanta and on Buford Highway, as well as the mobile sites and Mercy Senior Care in Rome, Ga.

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"As one of Atlanta's leading health care providers, we felt it was our responsibility to ensure a healthy environment for our patients, visitors, family members, volunteers and employees," says Kirk Wilson, president and CEO of Saint Joseph's Health System. "With what we know about the effects of tobacco, it simply makes sense for Saint Joseph's Health System to be a 'tobacco-free' environment."

Saint Joseph's has been working for approximately nine months educating and alerting employees, patients, visitors and others who come to the Hospital campus about the July 2 'go-live' date of the policy.

"We have offered employees assistance with the 'Knock Out Nicotine Addiction' smoking cessation class, opened an on-site fitness center, and offer many other resources to support the efforts of employees," says Wilson. "While smoking is a personal choice, we
certainly encourage everyone to quit the habit."

As an adjunct activity for those with a smoking history, Saint Joseph's recently began offering CT lung cancer screenings. Not covered by insurance, the screenings are priced at $325.00, don't require the use of contrast dyes and can be performed in about a half hour. Lung cancer, with the highest death rate of all cancers and responsible for more deaths than prostate, breast and colon cancers combined, often goes undetected until it is advanced and more difficult to treat effectively.