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New Tobacco Signs at Grand Itasca

6/2/2013

Grand Rapids MN – Those driving to Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital will see new signage at the main and Emergency Department entrances. The signage reminds employees, patients and visitors that Grand Itasca is a tobacco-free campus. Since opening the doors of its new facility on Golf Course Road in 2005, Grand Itasca has been a tobacco-free facility. 

 

Grand Rapids MN–  Those driving to Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital will see new signage at the main and Emergency Department entrances. The signage reminds employees, patients and visitors that Grand Itasca is a tobacco-free campus. Since opening the doors of its new facility on Golf Course Road in 2005, Grand Itasca has been a tobacco-free facility.

The policy bans the use of smoking and smokeless tobacco on all 76 acres of the main campus at Golf Course Road in addition to the Professional Building at on Third Street SE, which includes the parking lots and walking paths at each respective facility. The purpose of the policy is to eliminate exposure to the nation’s leading cause of preventable disease and death, for all who provide care and come to receive it at Grand Itasca, at least while on its grounds. As the area’s leading health care provider, Grand Itasca seeks to be an example for other area health care facilities and businesses. 
Tobacco use is a particularly big problem in Itasca County where 24% of adults smoke, compared to a state average of 17% (Source: Minnesota County Health Ranking, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, 2012). Further, 23.9% of pregnant women in Itasca County smoke compared to a state average of 9.6% (Source: Minnesota Department of Health Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics and County Trends, 2005-2009). And finally, 12% of 9th graders in Itasca County smoked in the past 30 days compared to a state average of 9% (Source: Minnesota Student Survey, 2010).
Because of these alarming statistics, Grand Itasca has identified tobacco use reduction as one of the key health improvement opportunities for our county. Specifically, Grand Itasca has not only improved signage about the existing tobacco-free policy but has also added security to enforce the policy. Since May 6th, security has been in place asking those in violation of the policy to discontinue use as well as providing information about smoking cessation. 
In its last session, the state legislature also confirmed their support of tobacco use reduction in the state of Minnesota by adopting a $1.60 per pack tax increase on cigarettes, making our state the 6th highest tobacco tax in the United States. The Omnibus Tax Bill conference committee considered the House of Representative’s proposal for a $1.60 tobacco tax increase in addition to the Senate’s proposal of a $0.94 tobacco tax increase, opted for the higher figure. This is not only meant to raise dollars for the state, but also discourage kids from picking up smoking as well as persuade existing users to quit. According to American Lung Association President and CEO, Charles Connor, “Each ten percent increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by about seven percent.”
Grand Itasca will continue to support smoking cessation and encourages anyone needing help quitting to reach out to his or her primary care provider or call the QUITPLAN Helpline at 1-888-354-PLAN. For more information about Grand Itasca’s tobacco-free efforts, please contact Cassi Chrzanowski at 218-999-1444. 

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