Broward Health Employee Resources Guide
Information for Physicians
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.
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 email@example.com. 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.