As a major health care provider in the community and in Wyoming, we feel it is our responsibility to create a healthy environment for our patients, visitors, employees, volunteers, and everyone who comes to our campus. In 2009, tobacco use was found to be the second leading health concern in Natrona County and we knew it was time that WMC take a leadership role.
In July 2009, Wyoming Medical Center joined 16 other Wyoming hospitals in becoming a smoke-free/tobacco-free campus. We believe that we are setting a positive example for the community with genuine concern for everyone’s health. Our patients, visitors and staff are entitled to smoke-free, litter-free areas surrounding WMC’s entrances and other public spaces.
Smoking is the leading killer in the United States and the number one preventable factor for heart disease, stroke and cancer. Secondhand smoke kills more than 100 people each year in Wyoming. In addition, chewing tobacco contains 28 known cancer causing agents.
When Wyoming Medical Center decided to take the step to become tobacco-free, we knew we’d face some challenges. But thanks to the support from our community, the transition to a tobacco-free campus has been a success.
Because using tobacco is an addiction, we understood this would be difficult for some people. That’s why for the first year of our tobacco-free campus we committed to helping patients, visitors and employees affected by this decision during their visit to WMC by providing nicotine replacement therapy including nicotine replacement gum and/or lozenges free of charge to visitors.
In addition, employees have been offered tobacco cessation assistance with prescription medicine, the patch and other nicotine replacement products free-of-charge. Since making this change, we are proud to say, 77 employees have quit using tobacco through our cessation program.
As a Natrona County business that has transitioned successfully into a tobacco-free facility, we support the efforts of “Smoke Free Natrona County” and encourage other businesses to take this proactive approach to a healthier community.
VICKIE DIAMOND, Casper
President and CEO,
Wyoming Medical Center