Upstate University Hospital was the first health care facility in New York state to kick the smoking habit by banning cigarettes in 2005. The campus was also the first within the State University of New York system to become entirely smoke-free.
Other hospitals and medical offices, colleges and universities followed the Upstate example.
In 2009, the Onondaga County Legislature enacted a law prohibiting smoking within 100 feet of the perimeter of property operating as a general hospital. And in 2012, Upstate strengthened its stance and became entirely tobacco-free, outlawing electronic cigarettes and other forms of tobacco.
The goal all along was to illustrate Upstate’s health care mission as well as clear the air of secondhand smoke exposure for staff, students, patients and visitors — and thus reduce the risk of cancer. At the same time, a Smoking Cessation Program was implemented, and is still in operation today, for Upstate employees and the Central New York community. (Find out more by calling 315-464-8668.)
This and other efforts helped Upstate earn CEO Gold Standard accreditation. This is an award from a nonprofit organization of chief executive officers called the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, founded by former President George H.W. Bush in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute. The Gold Standard calls for workplaces to evaluate their health benefits and corporate culture and take concrete actions to reduce the risk of cancer in the workplace.
This article appears in the fall 2015 issue of Cancer Care magazine.
Hear a radio interview with Program Coordinator Cynthia Cary Woods and Theresa Hankin, both respiratory therapists and smoking cessation counselors at Upstate, who illustrate how education — including workplace efforts and school programs – and family support are keys to quitting smoking permanently. See a video about today’s Great American Smokeout and other smoking-related information.