The First 90 Days of Tobacco-Free Campus at Friends Hospital: A Recovery Milestone

Philadelphia, PA—March 10, 2016—This March, Friends Hospital is celebrating the milestone of 90 days as a tobacco-free campus. This initiative involved providing support for tobacco-free recovery for patients, and encouragement for our staff members who chose to quit. In addition to smoking cessation aids such as nicotine gum and patches, hospital staff offer a variety of other options to help patients cope with tobacco cravings.

Staff work to empower patients in their health choices – and recovery overall – by providing a variety of leisure options for the patients to choose as an alternative to smoking. Expressive Art Therapy Director Maureen Ciolko notes that patients have access to art supplies, and many have chosen to make art to display on the units as a form of relaxation. The hospital provides journals, stress balls, and a music room to use as stress relief. Board games, word puzzles, Sudoku, and playing cards have become a routine for the patients during their breaks between groups or as a way to socialize in the evenings on many units. Regular outdoor breaks have been maintained, with a focus on activities instead of smoking. Many patients now throw footballs and frisbees with staff, and play basketball when they used to smoke. As the weather gets warmer, unit staff are planning to collaborate with patients to identify additional outside activities.

Friends Hospital’s unit staff and administration have kept a close eye on the transition to a tobacco-free campus, and are pleased to report the transition occurred smoothly, without many major incidents. At a recent employee town hall meeting, Chief Clinical and Innovation Officer Dr. Peter Vernig presented data on this transition to the hospital staff. He reported that the hospital has not seen an increase in restraints or psychiatric emergencies, nor has there been any decrease in patients’ agreeing to remain in treatment.

To learn more, visit: Tobacco-Free Living at Friends Hospital