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SMH Recognized for Addressing Tobacco 

On March 27th, the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network recognized 31 Maine hospitals through the annual Gold Star Standards of Excellence program, during an event at the Maine Hospital Association. This program encourages and awards Maine hospitals for meeting best practice standards around creating a tobacco-free environment and supporting tobacco-free lifestyles. The number of health care organizations meeting these standards has increased each year since the program began in 2010; nearly 80% of hospitals were recognized in 2013.  Amongst this year’s honorees was Stephens Memorial Hospital receiving a gold level award.

"Hospitals should be health and wellness role models for their communities, so it's important for them to set an example around reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke," said Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network Director Sarah Mayberry. "The Gold Star Standards of Excellence program is an opportunity to celebrate the hard work of Maine hospitals to address this issue."

All Maine hospitals that meet at least six of the ten standards are invited to apply, and they are recognized at the gold, silver or bronze level depending on the number of standards they have met. Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death and a major contributor to health care costs. The recognized hospitals are addressing this issue through comprehensive policies, education, social norm change, and treatment support. The ten Gold Star Standards of Excellence include creating a 100% tobacco-free campus, implementing evidence-based treatment strategies, divesting from tobacco industry stock, promoting smoke-free lodging options for visitors, and providing tobacco treatment and medication benefits for employees.

The recognition event for these Gold Star hospitals included remarks from Maine Hospital Association (MHA) President, Steven Michaud, who shared that the MHA Board adopted a position statement supporting tobacco-free hospitals in fall 2012. 

"Meeting these standards requires hard work and commitment from these health care organizations, and the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network is pleased to be able to honor their dedication," said Mayberry. Learn more about the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network and Gold Star Standards of Excellence by visiting www.MaineTobaccoFreeHospitalNetwork.org or calling (207)874-8774.

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