O’Connor Hospital to go Smoke-free and Tobacco-free on January 14, 2014

San Jose, CA (December 9, 2013) – O’Connor Hospital will become a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus beginning January 14, 2014, joining other Daughters of Charity Health System health care facilities, Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Seton Coastside in Moss Beach and St. Francis Medical Center in Southern California who have already become smoke-free facilities.

“Our committee worked diligently to create the guidelines to provide a healthy environment for our patients, our associates, volunteers and physicians,” said Smoke-free and Tobacco-free Committee Chair Tim Marzolf, Cardiology Manager at O’Connor Hospital. “It was also our goal to eliminate any secondhand smoke from cigarette, cigar or pipe so everyone on our property could breathe clean air.”

According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Chronic disorders associated with smoking include coronary heart disease due to atherosclerosis, heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke.

The Centers for Disease Control estimate 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke each year. Approximately 38,000 people die annually from heart and blood vessel disease caused by other people’s smoke. And, nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 percent to 30 percent.

Clean air was not the only goal of the committee, Marzolf said. While demonstrating their commitment to improving the health of patients, associates and the community, the committee also hopes to increase hospital involvement in treating nicotine addiction.

“As health care providers, we are committed to providing a healthy and safe environment and going “smoke-free” reinforces this message,” said George Block, MD, Chief Medical Officer at O’Connor Hospital.  “The health of many of our patients is affected by secondhand smoke, and we should be providing them an environment free from the impact of this smoke.”

“For those trying to quit, we realize that giving up smoking is difficult. Most tobacco users must try repeatedly to quit before they succeed,” Marzolf said. “To assist those who want to quit, we have Smoking Prevention and Smoking Cessation resources available through California Smokers’ Help Line at (800) NO-BUTTS (662-8887) or www.nobutts.org. Our patient admission packets now also contain a resource list to quit smoking.”

Smoking will be prohibited on all hospital property, including patient rooms, medical office buildings, parking lots, parking structures, curbside waiting areas and surrounding campus grounds.