St. Petersburg General Hospital is now officially a tobacco-free campus— that includes patients, employees, volunteers, vendors and visitors.
We made the change July 1 to reduce everyone’s exposure because tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., and it contributes to many preventable diseases including cancer, heart disease and stroke. The U.S. Surgeon general says breaking the habit is “the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.”
Start breathing easier
Within 12 hours of quitting, the carbon monoxide level in a smoker’s blood drops to normal, according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report. Two to three months after quitting circulation improves and lung function increases.
One year after quitting, the increased risk of heart disease is half of that of a smoker’s. Five to 15 years after quitting stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker and 10 years later the death rate from lunch cancer is about half of a smoker’s. Risks of other cancers including mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix and pancreas decrease as well.
“Our decision to provide a tobacco-free campus allows us to continue our mission of improving the health of this community. This is the right thing to do for our patients, employees, and visitors,” said Robert B. Conroy, Jr., chief executive officer at St. Petersburg General Hospital.
Stop lighting up today
If you’re a smoker who’s ready to join us in becoming tobacco free pick a day to quit and get prepared now.
The American Cancer Society suggests the following steps on your “Quit Day”:
· Do not smoke. This means none at all — not even one puff!
· Keep active — try walking, exercising, or doing other activities or hobbies.
· Drink lots of water and juices.
· Begin using nicotine replacement if that is your choice.
· Attend stop-smoking class or follow your self-help plan.
· Avoid situations where the urge to smoke is strong.
· Reduce or avoid alcohol.
· Think about changing your routine. Use a different route to go to work, drink tea instead of coffee. Eat breakfast in a different place or eat different foods.
Need help quitting? Join St. Petersburg General Hospital’s smoke cessation support group every Wednesday through August 4 at 5:30 p.m. We will also be offering free nicotine replacement therapy. Please contact Claudia Quinones at 813-929-1000, ext. 205 to register.