SMOKING CESSATION RESOURCES: McCleary, center, and Kathy McKool, RN, MSN, tobacco treatment counselor, provide information to a passerby at The Great American Smokeout information table.
Each year on the third Thursday of November, millions of smokers across the country forgo tobacco as part of "The Great American Smokeout." For many longtime smokers, the day marks the first time they have gone 24 hours without inhaling tobacco. Since the day began in 1977, many have used the "smokeout" as the first day of the rest of their lives smoke-free.
To help MGH patients, visitors and employees learn about The Great American Smokeout and the many benefits of quitting tobacco -- including improved health, financial savings and enhanced overall well-being -- the MGH Tobacco Treatment Service (TTS) hosted an information table Nov. 18 in the White Lobby. Tobacco treatment counselors were on-hand to offer passersby fliers about how to get through the day without tobacco and pamphlets promoting a new outpatient smoking cessation group that begins at the MGH in January.
"Approximately 100 people stopped by the table," says Nancy McCleary, RN, tobacco treatment counselor. "We were happy to share information and encourage smokers to quit. For employees who are thinking about using nicotine replacement therapy, we would like to remind them that, with a prescription, nicotine lozenges or gum can be applied to the MGH FLEX For Employees' Personal Benefit program."
Adds Bonnie Michelman, director of MGH Police, Security and Outside Services, who leads the MGH Nonsmoking Committee, "The information table was especially timely since the MGH recently launched an enhanced nonsmoking policy at the hospital, where smoking is not permitted except in two designated smoking shelters. To date, the campaign has been quite successful in deterring smoking outside of these areas. We have heard that at least one MGHer -- who smoked for more than 40 years -- decided to quit smoking as a result of the campaign. She has been cigarette-free now for two months. Another employee said that he noticed a clear difference outside the Thier and Simches buildings, where there had been many cigarette butts on the ground and smoke lingering in the air."