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No Ifs, Ands or Butts

Thu, August 16, 2007

In an effort to provide a healthier environment for patients, visitors and staff, West Georgia Health System (WGHS) will become tabacco-free on November 15th to coincide with the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout. Clark-Holder Clinic, the largest medical office in LaGrange and several Genesis physician practices support the hospital's effort and will also be participatng.

Although WGHS' buildings have been tobacco-free for many years, smoking has been permitted in designated areas outside of the hospital. Under the new policy, all patients, visitors, medical staff members and vendors will be asked to refrain from tabacco use of any kind within WGHS buildings, parking lots, grounds or off-campus facilities.

“As a health care organization, we are dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of our patients, employees and community,” said President and CEO Jerry Fulks. “We have a responsibility to take a leadership role on this important health issue, and set an example for the health behaviors we want to see in the community.”

Tobacco is the cause of more than one out of every 6 deaths in the state and kills more Georgians each year than alcohol, cocaine and heroine, AIDS, murder, suicide, auto accidents and fires combined.

“West Georgia Health System's decision to go tobacco-free is not an attempt to force anyone to quit using tobacco products. It is a way to underscore the health system's ongoing commitment to wellness and healthy living,” said Fulks.

The tobacco-free initiative also extends to offering help for those who use tobacco and those who want to quit. West Georgia Health System will provide smoking cessation classes to employees and to the community beginning in September.