Director of Partners for Healthier Communities Betsy Kelly, left, accepts the Gold Award on behalf of Southern Maine Health Care from Sarah Mayberry of the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence, as District Tobacco Prevention Coordinator at SMHC Casey Lancaster watches. Lancaster was also recognized as a Gold Star Champion at the event. SUBMITTED PHOTO.

Director of Partners for Healthier Communities Betsy Kelly, left, accepts the Gold Award on behalf of Southern Maine Health Care from Sarah Mayberry of the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence, as District Tobacco Prevention Coordinator at SMHC Casey Lancaster watches. Lancaster was also recognized as a Gold Star Champion at the event. SUBMITTED PHOTO.

BIDDEFORD — Efforts made by Southern Maine Health Care to ban smoking and tobacco at its facilities and by its clients have been singled out by The Center for Tobacco Independence’s “Breathe Easy” initiative.

During the annual Tobacco-Free Hospital Gold Star Standards of Excellence Awards ceremony on  Sept. 27, SMHC was recognized for meeting the Gold Level in the 2017 Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program. The hospital was one of three three gold star champions honored for achievements in advancing campus smoke and tobacco-free policies as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.

“We applaud the ongoing efforts of Maine hospitals to address tobacco use and exposure by meeting the Gold Star Standards,” said Sarah Mayberry of the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence. “Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Maine and the United States; the recognized hospitals are taking important steps to address this issue for patients, staff and the community.”

Maine hospitals were invited and encouraged to apply for recognition and those that met at least seven of 10 Gold Star Standards were recognized with a plaque. Gold Star award levels are based upon best practice criteria such as a smoke and tobacco-free campus policy, annual screening for tobacco use, referral to tobacco treatment and supporting employee education related to tobacco treatment.

Casey Lancaster, the district tobacco prevention coordinator at SMHC, was recognized as an individual Gold Star Champion for demonstrating strong leadership and advocacy for tobacco-free environments and resources.

“Southern Maine Health Care has worked hard on creating a healthy campus for all our employees, patients, visiting families and friends,” said Betsy Kelly, director of SMHC Partners for Healthier Communities. “We are committed to making sure all those who visit are provided an environment free from tobacco smoke.”

One of SMHC’s most successful initiatives is its smoking cessation program which provides one-on-one sessions designed to offer the tobacco user all the information and tools required to become tobacco free.

The program is led by a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist and gives insights into smoking habits, stress and the relationship is has to smoking, as well as nicotine replacement options available. Ongoing support also if available in guiding the tobacco user to become tobacco free after the smoking cessation program classes are over.

The “Breathe Easy” Tobacco-Free Hospital initiative at the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence was created to offer Maine’s hospitals information and resources needed to make all organizations smoke- and tobacco-free.

The program is funded by Maine Prevention Services, which is an initiative sponsored by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and works across the state to impact tobacco, substance use, and obesity.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at [email protected].


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