Friday, September 17, 2010

"Smoke KNOT Here"

MGH launches enhanced nonsmoking campaign

NONSMOKING COMMITTEE: Some of the members of the hospitalwide committee that planned the "Smoke KNOT Here" campain

The image of a burning cigarette tied into a knot with the tagline "Smoke KNOT Here" is the focal point of a re-energized nonsmoking campaign launched Sept. 17 at the MGH. Under the auspices of Jean Elrick, MD, senior vice president of Administration, and led by Bonnie Michelman, director of Police and Security, the hospitalwide campaign is the culmination of an 18-month collaboration among a 40-member committee representing departments from across the hospital, with input from employees who currently smoke.


The campaign focuses on education and enforcement of the existing MGH policy, which states that smoking is prohibited in and on the grounds of all buildings owned, occupied or under control of the MGH and is permitted only in two designated smoking shelters on North Grove Street and Blossom Street. At off-site MGH locations, individuals should adhere to the building's smoking policy.

"This renewal of our commitment through a new nonsmoking campaign is extremely important not only to patient safety but also to our hospital's compliance with the Joint Commission, CMS and other regulatory and accrediting agencies," says Michelman. "National trends show the widespread adoption of smoke-free hospital campuses as critical to fostering the health of patients, visitors and employees. When individuals smoke along walking routes, patients, visitors and employees complain. We take their health and our own seriously, and we also respect our neighbors' rights to a smoke-free environment."

As part of the initiative, managers and supervisors can make use of several tools to educate their staff and enforce the policy. Among the items are printable posters and handouts that include a map of the campus with clearly marked smoking shelter locations, talking points to help staff enforce the policy and a slide presentation to inform staff of the nonsmoking policy. These items are located in the "Environment of Care" section of the MGH Excellence Every Day website, accessible at or by clicking "Partners Applications" from the "Start" menu at any MGH workstation.Posters indicating smoking shelter locations have been posted in all high-traffic areas, and handouts are available at information desks, from ambassadors and at outpatient reception desks.

"Manager involvement is critical to this nonsmoking effort," says Michelman. "Managers and supervisors are expected to hold their staff to the policy as they would to any other hospital policy -- such as those for attendance, performance and dress code."

To help promote use of the smoking shelters, each has recently undergone enhancements, including the installation of improved lighting and exhaust fans. They also have been power-washed and painted.

"For the safety, health and comfort of all those who cross our campus, we also ask everyone to take part in enforcing the nonsmoking policy throughout the day, evening and night shifts," says Michelman. "If anyone -- employee, patient, contractor or visitor -- finds someone smoking outside of the smoking shelter, we encourage that person to please let the individual know that smoking is only allowed in the two shelters."

"We respect an individual's decision to smoke, and we are not asking anyone to quit if they are not ready to do so," says Nancy Rigotti, MD, founder and director of the MGH Tobacco Treatment Service (TTS). "While we understand that refraining from smoking can be difficult, we support all efforts to promote the MGH as a smoke-free campus and encourage individuals to consider quitting. If individuals must smoke, please do so only in the two smoking shelters. Employees who use nicotine replacement therapy should remember that they can purchase these products with funds from their personal Flexible Savings Accounts by January 1. The Tobacco Treatment Service will be offering options for employees to help comply with the MGH nonsmoking policy. Information soon will be made available on our website."

For more information about the MGH TTS, call 617-726-7443 or access

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