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Miller School and Jackson Memorial Medical Campus Now Smoke Free

3/2/2010

The Miller School of Medicine, UHealth - University of Miami Health System and Jackson Health System medical campus is now smoke free. The health care systems officially opened the new chapter yesterday. The initiative aims to "promote health and to promote wellness for everyone," said Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D. in announcing the project.

There are now dozens of "Smoke Free Campus" signs sprinkled across the medical campus, reminding all employees, students, patients and visitors of the new policy. The first of those signs was erected last Thursday at a groundbreaking ceremony at Alamo Park, attended by the committee behind the Smoke Free Campus Initiative.

"The winds of change are blowing," declared Arthur Fournier, M.D., professor and vice chair of family medicine and community health and associate dean for community health. "And they are not blowing smoke."

The smoking ban applies to all property owned or leased by the Miller School and Jackson Health System on the medical campus. In addition to the smoke free buildings, smoking is now also prohibited in all outdoor areas on campus, including walkways, the Schoninger Research Quadrangle, parking garages and in any vehicles parked on campus. The Jackson North and South facilities are also now smoke free.

Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, a fact that helped push medical school leaders to decide to go smoke free. Richard Thurer, M.D., professor of surgery and co-leader of the Smoke Free Campus Initiative, described the move as "a step along the way of reducing tobacco use in this country."

Ted Vana, D.O., medical director of Occupational Health Services at Jackson and co-leader of the Smoke Free Campus Initiative, echoed that theme, saying that the medical campus is "pulling the community together to help everyone be smoke free."

The campus effort, which is sponsored by the University of Miami Area Health Education Center Program, is focused on education and encouragement. A dedicated web page has been established with information on smoking cessation programs and support services to help smokers kick the habit. The programs can all be found under the "Be Smoke Free" button on the home page, med.miami.edu, or you may find them by visiting the Smoke Free website.