Saint Anthony Board urges Lakewood reconsider smoking proposal changes

SUBMITTED BY: Nancy Braden, Public Information Coordinator, Jefferson County Public Health

JEFFERSON COUNTY – St. Anthony Hospital joins the list of organizations in Jefferson County that support stronger protections from secondhand smoke for workers and the public. After St. Anthony Hospital’s Board of Directors reviewed the smoke-free provisions recommended by the Citizens for a Healthier Lakewood coalition as evidence-based best practices by global public health authorities and the Jefferson County Board of Health, the directors unanimously passed a resolution in support of the most protective workplace and public place provisions.

Commenting about the Board’s vote, Jeff Brickman, CEO of St Anthony Hospital, stated that St. Anthony’s supports this position as a basic public health issue and accepts responsibility to advocate for a stronger smoke-free law.

“St. Anthony Hospital has a long history of promoting a smoke-free workplace and surrounding areas.  In 2008, St. Anthony Central Hospital worked with the city and county of Denver to develop smoke-free public access areas around the St. Anthony Central Hospital campus.  This disallowed smoking on sidewalks and areas surrounding the hospital campus.  We hope that with our recent move to Lakewood we will be able to continue our work to reduce the effects of secondhand smoke in the communities in which we live and work,” said Dr. Linda Ferris, Centura Health Leader for Oncology Services.

St. Anthony Hospital joins a growing list of organizations in support of strengthening the smoke-free law in Lakewood including the Jeffco PTA, Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, Clear Creek Valley Medical Society, New West Physicians, American Lung Association of Colorado, GASP of Colorado, Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Association (CTEPA) and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The recommended smoke-free provisions are proven to protect workers and patrons from secondhand smoke and help reduce youth initiation of tobacco use as well as overall consumption of tobacco.

“Protecting youth from the harms of secondhand smoke exposure everywhere is important. The hookah bars are of particular concern as they market to our youth.  On behalf of the Jeffco PTA, we fully support provisions that protect youth,” said Jeffco PTA Health and Wellness Chair.

The provisions include making all indoor area of workplaces smoke-free regardless of the type of business, making outdoor seating and dining areas of bars and restaurants smoke-free to protect workers and patrons of all ages, and making certain outdoor public places smoke-free, including recreation areas, playgrounds, parks, public transit waiting areas and sidewalks around hospitals.

These provisions align with the sentiments of the majority of Lakewood’s citizens as reflected in a resident survey conducted by the National Research Center during the summer of 2011.  According to the survey, 81% of the Lakewood survey respondents would support a stronger law to make more public places smoke-free.

“While the science on the dangers of secondhand smoke is reason enough to make our work and public places smoke-free, the results of the resident survey combined with the list of organizations in support shows that the people of Lakewood want a stronger smoke-free law,” said Susan Sobkoviak, Tobacco Control Policy Specialist with Jefferson County Public Health.

According to the survey conducted by the National Research Center and involving 267 respondents*, the majority of Lakewood support: outdoor seating/dining areas of bars and restaurants – (77 percent support); sidewalks around hospitals should be smoke-free to protect patients – (85 percent support); outdoor transit waiting areas should be smoke-free to protect children – (79 percent support); indoor areas of all businesses and workplaces, including small businesses, tobacco and cigar bars – (59 percent support); outdoor recreation areas – (77 percent support); and 25 feet around the entrances of buildings – (78 percent support).

The survey of Lakewood residents indicates that businesses could actually benefit from a stronger law, with 85 percent of respondents saying they are more likely to visit bars or restaurants that are smoke-free indoors and 78 percent saying they are more likely to use the outdoor seating area of a bar or restaurant if it’s smoke-free. Additionally, 44 percent of all respondents report leaving early if exposed to tobacco smoke in an outdoor area.
For more information about the NRC survey or to get involved with Citizens for a Healthier Lakewood, visit: www.citizensforahealthierlakewood.com or click here to view the survey highlights: http://bit.ly/oBCGdR
For more information on additional resident surveys including input from over 2,400 people, please call Susan Sobkoviak, JCPH Tobacco Prevention Policy Specialist at 303-239-7007.
*With a 28 percent response rate, weighted data, and a margin of error of +/- six percentage points, the survey results are considered representative for the population of Lakewood.

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