The smoke will clear on the UCLA campus Thursday, Nov. 17, when the UCLA Health System and UCLA Health Sciences implement a policy establishing a completely smoke-free environment. Timed to coincide with the 36th annual Great American Smokeout, the new policy will apply to all indoor and outdoor areas of the hospitals and health sciences campuses in Westwood and Santa Monica, as well the buildings along the Charles E. Young Drive South research corridor.
"Our purpose is to heal humankind one patient at a time by improving health, alleviating suffering and delivering acts of kindness. Establishing a smoke-free environment within the UCLA Health System is an extension of that philosophy," said Dr. David Feinberg, CEO of the health system and associate vice chancellor for health sciences. "As a renowned research, education and health care–delivery institution, we must lead by example to protect the health and well-being of our faculty, staff, students, trainees, volunteers, patients and their families and to prevent disease."
"Smoking continues to cause significant damage to society," said Dr. Timothy Fong, an associate professor of psychiatry at UCLA and a member of UCLA's smoke-free transition team. "Nearly 500,000 Americans die each year from tobacco-related causes, and in California, nearly 10 percent of the population smokes. Among health care providers, we know that 5 to 10 percent of physicians and nurses smoke. Thus, the move toward a smoke-free environment is the right thing to do to create a healthier and cleaner place for UCLA patients and employees to work, live and heal."
Fong and other members of UCLA's Smoke-Free Champions — a group of campus health care professionals dedicated to helping patients, families and staff with the transition to a smoke-free environment — will be available to answer questions related to the new smoke-free policy on Nov. 17. The group will host a UCLA Smoke-Free Kickoff Table between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, outside hospital's Tamkin Auditorium on the B-floor concourse.
Educational materials on smoking cessation will be available for patients, families and staff, and information will be provided on how to manage nicotine withdrawal in the hospital setting. Referrals to local smoking-cessation programs will also be available.
But the assistance to encourage smokers to quit will continue beyond Thursday. UCLA Smoke-Free Champions will be available, on an ongoing basis, for the following services:
- Providing live training to UCLA faculty and staff about evidence-based treatments for smoking cessation and tips on how to maintain a smoke-free environment.
- Providing educational resources, materials and referrals to anyone interested in smoking cessation.
- Serving as an advocate to speak with patients and their families about the UCLA smoke-free policy and smoking-cessation programs.
For more information on smoking cessation and the new smoke-free policy, visit the UCLA Smoke-Free Resource Center at www.uclahealth.org/smokefree.
Beginning Thursday, the physical areas affected by the new policy will include Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center; UCLA Medical Plaza; Santa Monica–UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital; Tiverton House; the UCLA schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry and public health; and some areas of the UCLA College.
"UCLA is committed to assisting our faculty, staff, students, trainees, volunteers and patients to become smoke-free," Fong said. "The Smoke-Free Resource Center will be highlighting smoking-cessation classes provided by health plans, providing nicotine patches and offering other smoking-cessation materials. We encourage all of our UCLA family who smoke to get in touch."