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SBU East Campus Facilities, Grounds Ring in The New Year by Becoming Smoke-Free


The East Campus of Stony Brook University is ringing in the New Year with a new smoke-free policy. Beginning January 1, 2009, the new policy expands the current one: smoking is prohibited not only inside and near buildings, but also on the grounds of the Medical Center, Health Sciences Center (HSC), and the Long Island State Veterans Home (LISVH).

Smoke Free Standing from left are Fred Sganga, Executive Director of LISVH, Dr. Frank Cervo, Medical Director LISVH, Dr. Craig Lehmann, Interim Executive Dean of Health Science Center, Marvin Johnson, SBU employee who quit smoking after 11 years, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Dr. Steve Strongwater, CEO SBUMC, Dr. Ted Gabig, Chairman, Dept. of Hematology/Oncology, Dr. Hank Chaudhry, Commissioner, SC Department of Health , ex-smoker Jessica Smith, Sylvia Diaz, Americ an Cancer Society, Terry Wilson, and Jeff Behrens, both ex-smokers.
In addition to the Hospital, HSC, and LISVH, the area includes the Basic Sciences tower; the Ambulatory Surgery Center; the Center for Outpatient Services (Imaging Center and Cancer Center); parking garages for the hospital and HSC; the East Campus power plant and all open space around these areas; the grounds surrounding and connecting the same; and, in all vehicles owned and/or operated by Stony Brook University. Smoking is prohibited within 50 feet of the building entrance at all other East Campus property, including leased properties, in according with Suffolk County Ordinance. The policy applies but is not limited to employees, faculty, volunteers, students, patients, visitors, contractors and subcontractors.

"As a major provider of health care in the community, our mission is to create a healthier environment for our patients, visitors, employees, volunteers, and everyone who comes to us," said Steven L. Strongwater, MD, Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital. "We believe that we are setting a positive example for the community with genuine concern for everyone’s health."

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five deaths is related to smoking. Smoking is also dangerous to those who are near the person who is smoking, through second-hand smoke.

"When asked what the number one and two cause of death are in America, most people will correctly say heart disease and cancer," said Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Health Services. "What they may not know is that the number one underlying cause of death in America is tobacco use. In Suffolk County, the Health Department's 'Learn To Be...Tobacco Free' program has been addressing this underlying cause for the past eight years and our success rate compares favorably to other cessation programs. Over 70 percent of the participants complete the program."

"Stony Brook University Medical Center's decision to go smoke free adds to its already renowned reputation as a place where people go to get well," said Louise Vetter, Chief Executive Officer of the American Lung Association of New York. "Tobacco-related illness remains the number one preventable cause of death in New York and by prohibiting smoking on campus, Stony Brook once again affirms its commitment to promoting good health and well-being."

SBUMC is not asking employees, visitors and patients to quit smoking, but to refrain from smoking while visiting or working on the campus, although the Medical Center does provide a variety of smoking cessation programs for those employees who choose to stop smoking, including a free six-week class through the Department of Employee Health & Wellness. Those interested can also contact Suffolk County's "Learn to be Tobacco Free" Programs at (631) 853-4017 or NYS Smokers' Quitline at (866) 697-8487.

SBUMC will also provide free nicotine replacement therapy in the form of nicotine gum/lozenges through January 31, as well as other helpful resources. Information on all these resources is available by calling Employee Health & Wellness at 631-444-7767.

"Becoming smoke free is an initiative being embraced by healthcare institutions across the nation," said Dr. Richard N. Fine, Dean, Stony Brook University School of Medicine. "Creating an environment free of smoke benefits the health and safety of everyone. Since health and well being is at the core of all we do, becoming smoke free not only makes sense, it is our responsibility. We ask for your help and cooperation in making this New Year a healthier one for all."
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