Smoke Free Campus

Smoke Free Campus

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Tips for a Successful Quit Smoking Day

You've done your homework, made your plan, tossed out all your cigarettes and now the big day is here: Day One of your plan to quit smoking. You've probably heard that nicotine withdrawal is unpleasant and that most people need to quit several times before they reach their goal. But the good news is that, if you can make it through this first day and this first week, when nicotine withdrawal symptoms are at their worst, you will be on your way to success.

One of the most important things you can do right now is remind the people around you that today is the day you are quitting cigarettes and ask for their help. This might mean asking some people not to smoke around you, so that you aren't tempted to give in to a craving.

How you might feel today

You may experience a range of nicotine withdrawal symptoms today or during this first week. It's not unusual to have four or more of these reactions:

Cravings for cigarettes (nicotine)

  • Anger

  • Frustration

  • Irritability

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Weight gain

  • Increased appetite

If your doctor has prescribed nicotine replacement products, such as nicotine patches, be sure to use them as directed to help relieve symptoms. If he or she suggested antidepressants, which are sometimes helpful, make sure you understand how and when exactly to take them.

Getting through tough moments

Here are no-cost or low-cost strategies for meeting today's challenges:

  • Plan a new morning ritual. If smoking was a big part of how you started every day, create new positive habits, like making a healthy breakfast from scratch. Ideally the activity should last an hour or more and keep you busy and distracted.

  • Plan activities. Schedule activities that you enjoy (but that you don't associate with smoking) to stay occupied and avoid feelings of boredom or frustration. It's OK to bribe yourself a little bit, too — reward yourself after you get through the afternoon without a cigarette by going to the movies or getting a manicure.

  • Lean on others for support. Ask friends and family to help motivate you, and reach out to support groups available both in person and online. Don't be afraid to contact them — you want to create a network of cheerleaders who will keep you on track.

  • Drive differently. If you smoked in your car — on your way to work or just the supermarket, for example — you might need to change your route, listen to new music, or find another way to drive without smoking. You might even consider joining a carpool or taking a train to shake up your daily commute.

  • Get physical. Taking a walk or jog or engaging in any kind of physical activity that you really like can reduce feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration, and stress that are often part of nicotine withdrawal.

  • Fiddle. If you enjoyed the feeling of a cigarette in your hand, find a small object, such as a paperclip, pencil, or even a squishy stress ball, that you can play with instead.

  • Keep your mouth busy. Try chewing sugar-free gum, sucking on hard candy, or chomping on fruits and veggies whenever you get a craving — have all these choices handy at all times.

  • Take a deep breath. Do deep breathing exercises as often as you need them to relieve stress, and every time you exhale, remind yourself that the urge to smoke will pass.

  • Seek out smoke-free distractions. Take advantage of public smoking bans by enjoying smoke-free places in your community. Savor the fresh air filling your lungs.

  • Create a plan to manage triggers. You probably have favorite times and places to smoke or certain stressful (but predictable) events that cause you to want to light up. Plan your day so that you avoid as many of your trigger situations as possible; have an alternative activity you can do when a trigger is unavoidable, such as drinking a glass of water rather than smoking during scheduled coffee breaks.

  • Cut back on alcohol. Not only does alcohol weaken your resolve to follow a number of healthy lifestyle options, it also often acts as a trigger for smoking. In particular, avoid any specific drinks you used to enjoy with a cigarette.

  • Distract yourself. If you find you have time on your hands, keep those hands busy with an interesting book or magazine to read or a puzzle to solve.

  • Know key contacts. If you have a weak moment, call a friend, a loved one, the American Lung Association helpline (800-548-8252), or the National Cancer Institute helpline (877-448-7848) for encouragement so that you do not reach for a cigarette. 

Smoke-Free Resources

Broward Health Employee Resources Guide
Information for Physicians

Tobacco Free Florida
Broward Health
Wellness Center
FREE 6-week smoking cessation classes

Upcoming Florida Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) classes and events

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How is Broward Health’s policy regarding smoke changing?
The Board of Commissioners approved the policy to become a smoke-free campus effective January 1, 2014. This means that when the policy goes into effect, smoking will no longer be permitted anywhere on campus and the current designated smoking areas will be eliminated.

Q: Why are our campuses going smoke free?
By eliminating second-hand smoke on our campuses, Broward Health is emphasizing its commitment to providing a healthy environment for employees and our community. Establishing a smoke-free campus policy will:

  • Protect people from unwanted and involuntary exposure to tobacco and passive smoke. Multiple studies affirm that there are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke, including outdoor smoke.
  • Promote cessation and create a supportive environment for those who are trying to reduce or quit tobacco use.
  • Provide support for employees who want to quit smoking.
  • Create a cleaner living, learning, and working environment. Cigarette butts are the most common type of litter. Reducing cigarette butt litter will beautify our campus and lower clean-up costs.
  • Protect the environment from tobacco–related litter. Discarded cigarette butts contain all the carcinogens and nicotine that make tobacco use the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Cigarette butts take years to decompose, increasing the toxicity of aquatic ecosystems, and potentially leaking into soil and the water supply. Cigarette butts are also dangerous when consumed by wildlife, pets, or young children.

This decision supports the rights and privileges of both smokers and non-smokers alike.  

Q:  Are other hospitals adopting smoke-free policies?
Many of our surrounding hospitals have adopted a smoke-free policy with the trend steadily increasing.

Q: Are you considering the needs and perspectives of all different groups?
Broward Health is committed to having all groups represented in the implementation process, and in providing mechanisms for people to voice their ideas and concerns. A successful transition of the organization must evaluate the three main populations that will be subject to this rule: 1- employees, medical staff and all contracted services; 2- patients; and 3- visitors. The policy will ultimately impact all persons who present at any Broward Health facility for any purpose. Information will be shared through the Regional Star Response Counsels, Town Halls, Rounds and Star Publication to inform all members of the workforce about the decision to become smoke-free. This information will provide opportunities to encourage employee feedback and input.

Q: Isn't tobacco-use a personal right?
Tobacco is a legal product for adults. Broward Health is not forcing anyone to discontinue tobacco-use, however resources and education will be provided in an effort to encourage healthy choices. Broward Health can establish policies for its employees which protect the health and wellness of all employees and all who present at our facility. A smoke-free policy does not prohibit tobacco use; it merely establishes where use can occur. The new policy supports the right of all people on the campus to breathe smoke-free air. The simple reason for our policy is respect for each other and the environment. Employees who choose to continue smoking must do so away from a Broward Health facility.

Q: What about the use of electronic cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes, also known as E-Cigarettes, are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals.  E-Cigarettes are NOT permitted under the smoke-free campus policy. Read more about them here.

Q: Is secondhand smoke (SHS) really that much of a problem?
Secondhand smoke, also called involuntary smoking or passive smoking, is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It is a mixture of gases and fine particles that includes:

  • Smoke from burning tobacco
  • Smoke that has been exhaled by people smoking
  • More than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic, and about 70 that can cause cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control:

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart disease and/or lung cancer from 20-30 percent in adults who have never smoked. There is no risk-free level of contact with secondhand smoke; even brief exposure can be harmful to health.
  • In Florida alone, 2,520 non-smokers died from exposure to SHS in 2010.

The 2006 Surgeon General's report found that even brief exposures to secondhand smoke may have adverse effects on the heart and respiratory systems and increase the severity of asthma attacks, especially in children. Recent research indicates that people inhaling smoke at an outdoor café or other outside venue can breathe in wisps of smoke that are many times more concentrated than normal background air pollution levels. Aside from the risk to the general community, secondhand smoke is particularly dangerous for people with cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions such as asthma, COPD and certain allergies, older adults, pregnant women, and children. Our medical staff community believes that secondhand smoke is a problem and led the initiative to secure Board approval of the policy to become a smoke-free organization.

Q: How will people know where they can and cannot smoke?
All Broward Health campuses will be smoke-free. Reasonable communication will be provided to all impacted persons. Signage will be posted at all building/facility entrances and parking lots. Reminders from staff and security will be provided as necessary.

Q: Will there be designated smoking areas on campus?
No, the current designated smoking areas will be eliminated as smoking does not support our initiative and is therefore prohibited on all Broward Health campuses. Allowing for designated smoking areas undermines the new policy. The purpose of the policy is to create a health-supporting community for everyone, smokers and non-smokers alike.

Q: What about events that occur at Broward Health facilities?
All events occurring on any Broward Health facility will be covered by the smoke-free policy.

Q: Will staff or visitors be able to smoke on public property adjoining our property, such as a public sidewalk?
Yes, but we ask that our employees respect our neighbors and their property.

Q: How will the policy be enforced for the various categories of impacted persons?
Working committees will be determining the best way to enforce the smoke-free policy for any given group or category in a way that is based on mutual respect and which builds a smoke-free culture on our campuses. As a healthcare organization, education will be instrumental to implementing this policy. We will communicate specific details about how the smoke-free policy will be enforced when that information is available.

Q: What opportunities will be available to assist employees to stop smoking?
Broward Health is dedicated to assisting employees who wish to stop smoking and eliminate tobacco use. This information will be available in our Smoking Cessation Resource Guide, on the intranet, as well as in resource racks in the cafeterias and Regional HR Offices. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) will be available to assist employees in obtaining resources for smoking cessation.

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Q: Are employees allowed to use nicotine-replacement therapy products, like gum, lozenges, or patches, at work?
Employees who smoke may choose to use nicotine-replacement therapy products particularly gum or lozenges to manage their nicotine cravings during work hours. However, physician consultation is necessary for appropriate dosing and use.

Q: How will the policy be communicated to the employees, medical staff, patients and visitors?
Communication regarding the new policy will be consistent and ongoing.

Employees will initially be advised about the policy by leadership’s communication of the policy and transition plan. The President will provide employees with a statement of the policy change, as well as send electronic communications and intranet publications. Regional leadership will communicate and discuss the policy and transition plan during numerous opportunities such as Star Response Councils, Town Halls, rounds, and the Star employee publication.

The Chief Medical Officer and regional leadership will communicate the policy and transition plan to all medical staff and allied health professionals to elicit opportunities for dialogue and input through Chiefs of staff, physician portal, Medical Counsel and general meetings.

The Chief Medical Officer along with Regional Chief Nursing Officers, Medical Staff, Pharmacy and other applicable disciplines will develop clinical protocols to address patient needs.

The Contracts Department will communicate the policy to providers, vendors, travelers/agency and other contractors by incorporating the policy terms into the agreements if necessary.

Department of Learning will advise faculty during their annual mandatory student affiliation meetings of the policy and implementation plans for students.  Students will also be informed through orientation.

Regional Volunteer Coordinators will communicate the policy and implementation to volunteers.

Marketing Services will provide community press releases to educate the community. Signage and printed materials will also assist in informing the community of the policy implementation.

Employees will have access to the Broward Health smoke free web page via a “smoke free” icon on MyPlace. This link will connect employees to information and announcements regarding the smoke-free workplace policy. As information becomes available it will be posted there. This site will be a way to access details about the smoke-free workplace policy, related activities and available resources, such as cessation materials, classes, etc. It will also be the location to ask questions, report concerns and provide overall feedback.

Q: Can I smoke in my car?
Smoking is prohibited in cars parked on all Broward Health property.

Q: Where can I go to smoke or use tobacco products?
Providing a place to smoke does not support Broward Health’s goal to create a healthier environment. If you need to smoke, you will need to leave Broward Health property. Employees who leave the campus to smoke are encouraged to be considerate of neighbors and others in our community and must abide by Broward Health’s time & attendance policy.

Q: I have ideas or concerns. Who should I contact?
Anyone interested in providing feedback, submitting ideas or expressing concerns should contact the Employee Assistance Program Department via phone at 954-847-4327 or by e-mail at The EAP department will assist you in obtaining answers to your questions or concerns. Click here for the Smoking Cessation Employee Resource Guide.

Q: I am interested in helping with smoke-free efforts on campus. Who should I contact?
Employees interested in assisting with the smoke-free efforts at their regions should contact their regional HR Director.

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