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Local Doctors Stand For Smokefree Workplaces

January 24, 2004
Saturday - 1:10 am

The Ketchikan General Hospital (KGH) Medical Staff has voted to support a resolution that endorses measures to protect workers and the public from secondhand tobacco smoke.

Several of the physicians in support of the smokefree workplaces resolution:
L to R (Back row): Eric Youngstrom, MD, Anesthesiology KGH; Jeanne Snyder, MD, Family Practice, Ketchikan Medical Clinic; David Johnson, MD, Pediatrics, Ketchikan Medical Clinic; Gregg McNeil, MD, Family Practice, KIC Tribal Health Clinic; Gena McKinley, MD, Internal Medicine, Wilson Clinic; Robert Crochelt, MD, PhD, Surgery, Southeast Surgical Clinic;
Lindley Gifford, MD, Family Practice, KIC Tribal Health Clinic; Philip Newman, MD, Surgery, KGH Quality Services; Isabell E. Speer, MD, Pathology, KGH; Peter Rice, MD, Internal Medicine, Wilson Clinic..... L to R (Front row): Paul Boone, MD, Family Practice Medicine, KIC Tribal Health Clinic; Arne Pihl, DMD, Dentistry, private practice...
Photo courtesy Ketchikan General Hospital

This Medical Staff resolution joins resolutions by the Alaska Association of Nurses, Revilla Island Prevention Coalition, Alaskans for Tobacco-Free Kids, KGH Prevention Services, Gateway Center for Human Services, PatchWorks, the Alaska Association of Student Governments, American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and Ketchikan Public Health Center calling for protections from secondhand smoke. In addition, 96 local businesses and hundreds of individuals have signed their support for smokefree public places, worksites, and restaurants in Ketchikan.

The Tongass Tobacco Free Alliance, a group of public health workers and volunteers, has been working with the Ketchikan City Council to bring forth an ordinance that will protect workers and the general public within restaurants and worksites. Private residences and freestanding bars will not be impacted under the proposed ordinance.

Co-chair Marya Tyler says, "Since the campaign started, we have received calls from people who suffer from secondhand smoke in their workplaces--in bars, in restaurants, on ferries, in taxicabs, in offices, and in workshops--asking for help and thanking us for our efforts. In one of these instances, we called the president of the company to discuss the seriousness of secondhand smoke. His decision was made instantly to ban smoking. His action will benefit his nonsmoking workers as well as those who smoke."

Co-chair Jaylynn Merrill explains why. "Nationally, these types of ordinances have been shown to be the best way to help people quit smoking. When they have to go outside, smokers find themselves smoking less and find they are able to go longer without a cigarette than they thought possible. The long-term benefits of this ordinance will be far-reaching."

The KGH Medical Staff resolution is an endorsement of the scientific findings relating secondhand smoke to morbidity/mortality. Major health organizations worldwide agree that secondhand smoke contributes to disease and death. Annually, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency, 35,000 to 62,000 nonsmoking Americans die from exposure to other people's tobacco smoke. That means that for every eight smokers who die from tobacco use, one nonsmoker dies as a result of their smoking (National Cancer Institute, 1991).

To join the Alliance or sign up as a supporter, contact co-chair Jaylynn Merrill at Patchworks at 225-4350 or Marya Tyler at Prevention Services at 247-4330.




Source of News Release & Photograph:

Ketchikan General Hospital
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