RANSON – With smoking banned at the hospital Martinsburg as part of the Berkeley County Clean Air Ordinance that took effect Tuesday, officials say the facility in Ranson will follow suit later this summer.
“The thought is that Jefferson Medical Center will adopt the same tobacco-free campus policy as Berkeley Medical Center in August or September,” said Teresa McCabe, spokeswoman for University Healthcare, which owns the two facilities.
For employees and visitors to the Ranson hospital, the change in policy will mean no more smoking at the parking lot gazebo or in cars parked on hospital property or even the sidewalks outside the facility, McCabe said.
“We know that as health care facilities, this is the right thing to do,” McCabe said. “The health and safety of our employees, medical staff, patients, students and visitors is our primary concern.”
University Healthcare is offering employees resources for giving up tobacco, she said.
Dana DeJarnett, health promotion specialist at The Wellness Center at Berkeley Medical Center, said the new smoking rules apply not only to cigarettes, but to cigars, pipe tobacco, e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
Workers, volunteers, students, patients, visitors, vendors, contractors and anyone else on the company’s property “are expected to comply with this policy,” DeJarnett said.
“University Healthcare is committed to the health of our community,” she said. “Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in our society. We appreciate your support and cooperation with our policy for totally tobacco free campuses.”
University Healthcare will offer the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart Smoking Cessation classes at the hospital starting July 22.
The four-session classes, free and open to the public, continue through Sept. 18. Anyone can get more information by calling 264-1287, ext. 31814 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Virginia offers a Tobacco Quitline at 877-966-8784. DeJarnett also points to ynotquit.com, which provides educational materials, coaching by phone and nicotine replacement therapy.
Anyone interested in kicking the habit will find tips from the American Lung Association (ffsonline.org), the American Cancer Society (cancer.org) and National Cancer Institute (smokefree.gov).