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The Medical Center of Central Georgia Implements Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

Just Breathe Initiative is Effective on Friday MACON, GA (June 28, 2011) - The Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG) will go tobacco free on Friday. No tobacco use of any kind will be permitted - inside or outside - on hospital property, including parking areas, garages or inside parked vehicles on hospital grounds. This initiative, Just Breathe, will include the elimination of designated areas outside MCCG where employees, patients and visitors are currently permitted to use tobacco products. As a health care organization, we are committed to the health and safety of our employees and patients. We believe we have a responsibility to take a leadership role on this major health issue, and establishing our entire campus as tobacco free firmly supports that belief. ""It is very important we as an organization dedicated to health and healing take a position consistent with that philosophy,"" Central Georgia Health System/MCCG CEO and President Don Faulk said. ""In taking this position, we want to do so in a manner that encourages a positive transition. This change will be very difficult for some and for our institution as we work with our patients and families. However, it is the right decision for the health of those we serve, which after all, is our mission. I urge the community's support as we work through this change."" Over 10,000 Georgia residents die each year from smoking, and tobacco is the cause of more than one of every six deaths in the state and is the root cause of many illnesses and lost productivity, according to a 2007 study from the Georgia Department of Human Resources. The US Surgeon General has confirmed that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is a serious health hazard and that there is no risk-free level of exposure. Tobacco use in and around hospitals poses health and safety risks for patients, employees and visitors. MCCG is not asking anyone to stop using tobacco, but we do require them to refrain from its use while on our campus. The tobacco-free initiative is our ongoing commitment to serve as a role model for healthy living. We are asking for community support in our tobacco-free initiative.