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Cayuga Medical Center Campuses Tobacco Free for World No Tobacco Day!


May 31, 2012 -- Ithaca, NY -  In collaboration with the Tompkins County Health Department’s Tobacco Free Tompkins program, Cayuga Medical Center will join other community organizations and businesses and become a T-Free Zone on May 31, 2012 – World No Tobacco Day. The main hospital campus, Island Health Center, and the Convenient Care Center campuses at Ithaca and Cortland officially extend their tobacco free policies to include all outdoor grounds, properties and parking areas. The implementation of this policy will create a healthier environment for Cayuga Medical Center patients, visitors, and employees by reducing the harmful exposure to secondhand smoke.


The decision to become tobacco free was part of the strategic employee health and wellness service plan to maintain and improve the health and well-being of CMC employees. It is aligned with a larger community wide initiative of local businesses and organizations interested in promoting good health in “T-Free Zones” and is connected with the Cayuga Medical Center core value of clinical excellence.


“As a health care facility we need to take a leadership role on this important public health issue” says Kathy Eliason, RN, Cayuga Center for Healthy Living lifestyle coordinator, “According to the 2010 Surgeon General report, there is no risk-free level of exposure to tobacco smoke, and there is no safe tobacco product.”


Efforts have been underway for over a year to prepare employees for this policy change. “We are sensitive to the impact this change will have on people who have used tobacco here” said Rob Mackenzie, MD, president and CEO. “We have helped our employees develop an individualized plan to get them through their work day without tobacco, or quit if they are ready. But, many patients and their family members still use tobacco. All patients coming to Cayuga Medical Center are now asked about their tobacco use and are advised to quit.”


Cayuga Medical Center health care professionals are well versed in helping patients manage nicotine withdrawal. Team Act, one of 19 cessation centers in New York State tobacco control program has been working with CMC since last June. They have provided training and patient education materials based on the 2008 Tobacco Dependence Clinical Practice Guidelines to various hospital units and outpatient areas. Cayuga Medical Center also offers free monthly tobacco cessation support groups to help people in the community who are considering a quit.




Becoming tobacco free is the final step in a multiyear plan that began in 2005, when the medical center’s ban on smoking inside its buildings was extended to all of the entrances, gardens, and immediate grounds around Cayuga Medical Center.  Now the hospital and all of its’ off-site campuses are completely tobacco free.



Cayuga Medical Center is a 204-bed, state-of-the art regional medical center and is affiliated with prestigious health care organizations including Cornell University’s Weill Medical College in New York City, Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY,  the Rochester Heart Institute at Rochester General Hospital in Rochester, NY, and Mayo Medical Laboratories. For more information on services available at the medical center and its satellite campuses, please visit or call the Public Relations Department (607) 274-4498.




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