AGH, Neighbors Go Tobacco-Free Starting May 1

BERLIN – Atlantic General Hospital, Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the Worcester County Health Department are joining together to become a tobacco-free campus on May 1.

The new tobacco-free campus policy comprises cigarettes, pipes and cigars as well as all smokeless tobacco products, which are prohibited in all buildings, parking lots and grounds along Healthway Drive in Berlin as well as all Atlantic General Hospital and Health System facilities throughout the region.

"This change will help support the health of our clients and employees. We look forward to the benefits of this new policy," said Worcester County Health Officer Debbie Goeller. "It is our hope that those who use tobacco products will consider participating in one of our free smoking cessation programs."

Several of Worcester County Health Department’s other locations are already tobacco free.

“Our organizations share a common goal of improving the health and lives of individuals in our community,” said Tracey R. Hall, BSN, RN, who leads the Employee Wellness Program at Atlantic General Hospital. “Becoming tobacco free to protect our patients, associates and visitors is an important step.”

Michael Franklin, president and CEO of Atlantic General Hospital, said the designation sets an example he hopes the community will follow.

“Tobacco has been recognized for years as a contributor to the increasing health care costs in our country because of the increased disease risk, so it is important for our campus to be an example of good health practices,” Franklin said. “Coordination of these efforts with all facilities on Healthway Drive was important for the success of this initiative.”

The facilities join a growing number of colleges and universities, municipalities, and hospitals and other healthcare organizations across Maryland and the U.S. that are banning the use of tobacco on their grounds.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.