In recognition of World No Tobacco Day held on 31 May 2014, ACT Health Director General Dr Peggy Brown has confirmed support for the upcoming implementation of completely smoke free campuses at Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital.
World No Tobacco Day is a World Health Organisation initiative, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use. This year's theme was 'raise taxes on tobacco', encouraging governments to increase taxes to levels that reduce tobacco consumption.
"Smoke free environments will be introduced at the Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital campuses from September 2014. This means that there will be no designated smoking areas and no smoking on the campuses," Dr Peggy Brown said.
"Whilst both hospitals have been substantially smoke free since 2009, I welcome the opportunity to phase out all smoking on the campuses as another way to support the reduction of smoking rates in the ACT.
"Smoking causes over 15,000 deaths each year in Australia, and while the ACT enjoys the lowest smoking rates in the country at around 11%, I welcome any opportunity to reduce our rates even further.
"The primary aim is to foster a healthy environment that promotes and role models healthy lifestyles for patients, visitors, staff and contractors," Dr Peggy Brown said.
"The hospital reforms will include measures to ensure that smokers in contact with health services are encouraged to manage their nicotine cravings and, if willing, supported in their efforts to quit. This will include the introduction of a Smoking Cessation Clinic at the Canberra Hospital, which will provide added support for smokers who may be affected by the smoke free environment implementation.
"ACT Health is also working closely with workplaces and community groups with initiatives to assist with smoking reduction, such as Beyond Today – it's up to you, a social marketing campaign promoting tobacco cessation and healthy lifestyle behaviours amongst ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
"ACT Health has also partnered with WorkSafe ACT to deliver the Healthier Work Service that supports ACT workplaces to improve employee health and wellbeing and includes a focus on smoking reduction and cessation," Dr Peggy Brown said.
"The ACT's achievements so far in smoking policy have been recognised in the Australian Medical Association's 20th Annual National Tobacco Scoreboard Award 2014, where the ACT was named as joint winner with Tasmania.
"This award is important recognition for the hard work that the ACT Government has done to reduce smoking availability in the ACT and provides encouragement for this work to continue to further build on the positive results we have seen to date.
"It's also pleasing to see the community involved in this work. Over 50 submissions were received in the first community consultation for Options for Restricting Access to Tobacco that proposed limiting the number of retailer licences, restricting hours of cigarette sales and a substantial increase in license fees to sell tobacco.
"The smoke free initiative at the Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital as well as programs for workplace and community groups demonstrate the ACT Government's commitment to reducing the harm from tobacco use and to protect the health of the ACT community," Dr Peggy Brown concluded.
Information on the implementation of ACT Health's smoke free initiative is accessible online at: www.health.act.gov.au. Support and practical help to quit smoking is available by calling Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 7848).
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Section: ACT Health Directorate | Media Releases
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