For the health and comfort of patients, visitors, students, faculty and employees, Rush University Medical Center will become a tobacco-free campus on November 20, the national celebration of the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout.

Smoking (and chewing tobacco) will be prohibited in all indoor and outdoor areas throughout the campus. With smoking and breathing secondhand smoke being the leading causes of many illnesses, Rush has an obligation to create a healthy environment for our entire community.

While all Rush buildings have been tobacco free since 1994, the medical center is becoming a tobacco-free campus outdoors as well to protect everyone on the campus from the negative effects of secondhand smoke. The entire campus-including parking lots and adjacent sidewalks-will become tobacco free.

"Rush is a place of healing and we want to be true to that mission indoors and out," says Dr. James Mulshine, vice president of research at Rush and member of the tobacco-free committee. "Part of our goal with this effort has been to help employees quit smoking so they can lead healthier, longer lives."

To celebrate Rush's commitment to go "smoke-free," a week of events will be held for employees. On November 20, Rush will have a "Welcome to our Smoke Free Campus" celebration where members of the Rush senior leadership team will be distributing chewing gum and candy to employees, students, patients and visitors from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. as they exit or enter the medical center. The chewing gum for this event was been generously donated to Rush by Wrigley.

In addition, there will also be a How To Quit: Brown Bag Lunch Informational Session on November 20 in the cafeteria conference room from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. or noon to 1 p.m. Respiratory specialists will discuss smoking cessation techniques and distribute Quit Kits at this informative session.

Leading up to the Great American Smoke-Out, Rush has been helping employees who want to quit by holding a tobacco cessation resource fair, two "quit kit" giveaway events and smoking cessation classes.

"As a major provider of health care in the community, our mission is to create a healthy environment for our patients, visitors, employees, volunteers and everyone who comes on our campus," said Mulshine. "We want to set a positive example for the community. Nonsmoking patients, visitors and staff are entitled to tobacco-free areas surrounding Rush's campus and other public spaces."

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, resulting in an estimated 438,000 premature deaths annually, or nearly one of every five deaths each year. The U.S. Surgeon General has stated, "smoking cessation (stopping smoking) represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives."

Help is available to quit smoking. If you need assistance, please consider using the following:

- The Illinois Tobacco Quit Line at (800) QUIT-YES or quityes.
- Rush physician referral, at (888) 352-RUSH to make an appointment with a primary care physician at Rush.

Rush University Medical Center is an academic medical center that encompasses the more than 600 staffed-bed hospital (including Rush Children's Hospital), the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center and Rush University. Rush University, with more than 1,270 students, is home to one of the first medical schools in the Midwest, and one of the nation's top-ranked nursing colleges. Rush University also offers graduate programs in allied health and the basic sciences. Rush is noted for bringing together clinical care and research to address major health problems, including arthritis and orthopedic disorders, cancer, heart disease, mental illness, neurological disorders and diseases associated with aging.

Rush University Medical Center

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