Northern Inyo Hospital will be tobacco-free as of Thursday, Nov. 20. The move coincides with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, which falls on the same date.
Sierra Wave Media talked with NIH CEO Victoria Alexander-Lane about the tobacco-free move.
This means that patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors, vendors and employees may no longer smoke or use tobacco on any NIH property. The new tobacco-free policy applies to indoor and outdoor areas, as well as parking lots and all cars parked in the lots.
The change was approved unanimously by the hospital’s Board of Directors in September. This policy change will help NIH meet its goal of improving the health and well-being of the people of Bishop and the surrounding communities.
Items included under the tobacco-free policy are cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes and tobacco alternatives, such as clove cigarettes.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, smoking results in nearly 1 in 5 deaths; which equals about 480,000 early deaths each year. Smoking increases risk for a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. However, health experts say once someone stops smoking, regardless of how long or how much they smoked, these risks start to drop. For example, within the first month, the former smoker’s sense of smell and taste improves; within the first six months, their lung function improves; and within a year, their risk of heart disease is cut in half.
Help is available for those who want to quit smoking. The Inyo County Health & Human Services’ Wellness Center offers guidance to help people stop smoking. Contact Lisa at the Wellness Center, (760) 873-8039, for details, or call 1-800-NO-BUTTS, a 24-hour helpline funded by the California Department of Health. Translators are available.