West Hawaii Hospitals Go Smoke-Free
by Dave Smith
Two Big Island hospitals have been recognized for their newly instituted smoke-free policy.
Kona Community Hospital in Kealakekua and Kohala Hospital in Kapa`au became smoke- and tobacco-free on Jan. 1.
As a result, the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii on Wednesday presented the hospitals with an Award of Community Excellence.
“The presentation of these awards recognizes both hospitals for exemplifying good health practices, and for taking positive steps to make West and North Hawaii communities healthier,” said Brenda Larson, the coalitionb’s West Hawaii community coordinator.
The new policy bans the use of all tobacco products on hospital properties including parking lots and employees vehicles in the lots.
Hospital officials said the goal of providing a healthy and safe environment and to promote a positive image of health to patients, employees, visitors and the public.
The hospitals began implementing the tobacco ban six months ago. That transition period included providing information to the staff and public and continued offering of stop-smoking treatment programs.
Kona Community Hospital CEO Jay Kreuzer acknowledged that the change can be difficult but said the smoke-free initiative is key to efforts to having a high-quality workplace and health-care provider.
“We’re committed to the health of our employees and our community,” he said.
Hilo Medical Center is working toward establishing a smoke-free environment which it hopes to implement by April, a spokeswoman said.