South Carolina hospitals ban tobacco

Columbia, SC, November 13, 2007 – In observance of this year's "Great American Smoke-Out," the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) has announced that 49 health care facilities, including 70 percent of the state's community hospitals, have decided to go totally tobacco-free. While all hospitals have strict smoke-free policies, most had continued to provide designated smoking areas outside the buildings until this year.

Last December, the SCHA Board of Trustees passed a resolution encouraging all hospitals to go tobacco-free campus-wide by November 15, 2007, the date of the "Great American Smoke-Out." A number of hospitals had already implemented tobacco-free policies, and others are in the process of doing so.

"Today, we are excited to see how many hospitals have worked to become tobacco-free inside and out over the past year," said SCHA President Thornton Kirby. "Doing whatever we can to help prevent the use of and exposure to tobacco products is consistent with the mission of every hospital." The South Carolina Hospital Association headquarters and grounds, located in Columbia, are also tobacco-free.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco kills more than 6,000 South Carolinians each year. That's more than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. "The leadership of the South Carolina Hospital Association wants to help set a standard for good health in our communities, and we look forward to working together to help reduce the number of preventable deaths and the other human costs resulting from the use of tobacco products," Kirby said.

About the South Carolina Hospital Association

Founded in 1921, the South Carolina Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state's hospitals and health care systems. Based in Columbia, SCHA works with its members to improve access, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all South Carolinians. The state's hospitals and health care systems employ more than 70,000 persons statewide.

11-12-2007 12:00 (EST)