The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

January 4, 2013

Hospitals' tobacco ban going smoothly

JOHNSTOWN — Nancy Tyrrell wanted to quit smoking before Conemaugh Health System rolled out its new tobacco policy with the arrival of 2013.

As director for Conemaugh Home Health and for Conemaugh Regional Hospice, Tyrrell knew cutting down on tobacco would improve her health.

Tyrrell had tried to quit before.

She knew it wasn’t a sure thing – until a health scare and stay in the hospital as a patient got her off tobacco for good.

“I went cold turkey,” she said.

Kicking the habit has changed her outlook on tobacco use. She’s encouraging others to quit.

“There was no chance of going back to smoking after that,” Tyrrell said.

New tobacco policies went into effect on Tuesday at hospitals across the region, but officials say education and awareness programs helped reduce backlash.

Conemaugh and Altoona Regional health systems’ smoking policies target employees, visitors and volunteers.

“It’s been smooth so far,” Altoona spokesman Dave Cuzzolina said, recapping advance preparations that made the rollout “almost anti-climactic.”

Altoona now prohibits tobacco use on all hospital property and will no longer hire tobacco users.

Conemaugh has instituted smoke-free shifts, prohibiting tobacco use by employees at work or on breaks.

“As a health-care system, we feel we have a responsibility to model healthy behavior for the community,” Cuzzolina said.

“We know it can affect not just the users, but those around them as well.”

The first few days of smoke-free shifts did not bring any major upheaval at Conemaugh, said Marlene Singer, community health coordinator.

“I think we did a good job of preparing everybody,” Singer said. “We gave them the tools to quit and an understanding of how it will improve their health.”

The same advance preparation helped Conemaugh make its campuses go tobacco-free in 2005, she added. Since then, employees, contracted workers and volunteers have been required to leave the property for smoke breaks.

As of Tuesday the smoke breaks were eliminated.

It won’t be too bad, Tyrrell said, recalling her twice-a-shift trips across Franklin Street to smoke outdoors in all types of weather.

“A year ago, I would have told you I had to have those smoke breaks,” she said. “Now I don’t miss them.”

Free smoking cessation help is provided by both health systems for the employees.

Participation has been mixed, Singer said. Conemaugh’s ongoing classes may have seen a slight enrollment uptick as the latest tightening approached.

“Just because there is a new policy doesn’t mean they are ready to quit,” she said.

If employees can’t attend a class, the hospital can provide help with nicotine replacement and phone calls for support.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/17/2014

    April 16, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads