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New policy to mark CRMC’s independence from the negative impacts of tobacco use

April 13, 2009 - Harris, N.Y. - Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC), Sullivan County's premier provider of health care services, will celebrate this Independence Day by becoming tobacco free. The new policy will take effect July 4, 2009 and prohibits the use of all tobacco products by patients, medical staff, employees and visitors on CRMC's campuses. The healthy initiative, titled Let's Clear the Air, is part of CRMC's commitment to promoting the health and well-being of everyone in the community. The new policy means smoking or chewing tobacco is not permitted on all property owned or leased by CRMC. This will include, but is not limited to, inside and outside all buildings, parking lots (including vehicles), the Grover M. Hermann campus and all CRMC physician offices. "We see the effects of illnesses caused by tobacco products every day and are committed to eliminating their use," said CRMC Chief Executive Officer Steve Ruwoldt. "This policy will further our efforts to provide the best possible health care service and patient experience to members of the community." CRMC, in cooperation with the American Lung Association's Freedom from Smoking Program, will offer Smoking Cessation Classes to all employees beginning May 4. The classes will be facilitated by Robert Korabik, a Registered Respiratory Therapist. One program will take place Mondays at 8 a.m. and another will take place on Thursdays at 4 p.m., and continue for 6 weeks. Each individual session is expected to last 45 minutes to one hour. The Sullivan County Tobacco Free Coalition offers smoking cessation programs and tobacco free education to all Sullivan County residents. For more information, please call (845)794-8080, ext. 126. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is also available to everyone through the New York State Smokers Quitline at www.nysmokefree.com or by calling 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487). Ruwoldt added, "Most hospitals, especially in our region, are now tobacco free. Establishing this policy will align CRMC with our neighbors and our own mission." The American Lung Association reports that every year in the U.S. over 392,000 people die from tobacco-caused disease. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and it's estimated 50,000 people will die from exposure to secondhand smoke in 2009.