Health column: Barton makes resolution to go smoke-free |

Health column: Barton makes resolution to go smoke-free

Dr. Clint Purvance
Barton Health

Barton Health proudly announces our New Year’s resolution: let’s go smoke-free together. Starting April 1, we will adopt a healthcare system-wide, smoke-free policy, joining hospitals across the nation to promote a healthy environment.

At Barton, we are dedicated to improving the health of our patients, employees, and our community and want everyone to breathe clean air. By going smoke-free, we can create a Tahoe and healthcare experience free from secondhand smoke.

We will implement a tobacco-free policy on all of our campuses. The tobacco ban will apply to all patients, visitors, medical staff members, vendors and employees. This means as of April 1, throughout Barton Memorial Hospital buildings, Barton Health facilities and on the parking lots or grounds, no tobacco-use of any kind will be permitted. This includes the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, marijuana smoking, and smoke-free tobacco products such as chewing tobacco.

As a health care institute, Barton Health’s primary mission is to protect the health of those in our community, while promoting a culture of healthier living. The South Lake Tahoe area has one of the highest rates of lung cancer and smokers in California. A Community Health Needs Assessment was conducted by Barton Health with the South Lake Tahoe Community and completed in March of 2012. These statistics showed cancer is the leading cause of death in South Lake Tahoe, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in South Lake Tahoe, the incidence of lung cancer deaths in South Lake Tahoe is significantly higher than the California state average.

We see this as a community effort and encourage our community neighbors and organizations to follow. Smoke-free campus initiatives have become a national trend for health and educational facilities and our neighboring healthcare facilities have taken similar smoke-free strides.

Barton Health hopes to make this transition as smooth as possible for smokers and non-smokers. If you currently smoke, Barton is also offering community classes to stop. Brochures and information outlining the Smoke Free policy will be given to patients and their guests upon admission to the hospital. If needed, patients will be offered withdrawal medications and cessation assistance, as appropriate, and under the direction of their caring physician.

If you or someone you know is ready to quit, our first 2014 smoke-free course starts on Thursday, Jan. 9 at Barton University in South Lake Tahoe. The course offered is Freedom From Smoking and is the premier smoking cessation program from the American Lung Association. It helps you develop a plan of action that leads to your quit day (halfway through the course). You’ll also get the support you need to remain smoke-free for life! The seven-week course costs $75 for the public and is subsidized by Barton Health for the benefit of our community. Participants are encouraged to sign up in advance, as space is limited. Call Gina Morros at 530-543-5882 or email

— Dr. Clint Purvance is the chief medical officer for Barton Health.

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