Ochsner Takes Stand Against Preventable Deaths

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Ochsner Takes Stand Against Preventable Deaths
Entire Health System Will Be Tobacco Free

March 15, 2011

NEW ORLEANS – As the debate on outdoor smoking bans and cigarette ads escalates, Ochsner Health System remains steadfast in its aim to be tobacco free. On April 1st, the use of tobacco products will be prohibited on all Ochsner Health System properties by physicians, employees, patients and visitors. Ochsner campuses will no longer provide designated smoking areas or ashtrays.

According to the Centers for Disease for Control, cigarette smoking is the single leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., leading to more than 400,000 deaths annually. In fact, more deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from alcohol use, illegal drug use, HIV, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.

"These are facts we cannot and will not ignore, and we are doing something about it," said Dr. Patrick Quinlan, CEO, Ochsner Health System.  "As a leader in healthcare, it's important that we set the standard for meaningful care and healthy living. We cannot compromise on this policy because we cannot compromise the health of our patients, our community or our employees."

To assist the community, Ochsner recently launched a website, ochsner.org/live, which is a valuable tool for those who want to quit or to support someone who is quitting. The website is filled with smoking cessation resources, the latest in protocols and information about tobacco-free living, recent news and opportunities to interact with and support others who are also in the process of quitting.

"This year alone, 6,500 Louisianans will die from their own smoking," said Dr. Joseph Bisordi, Chief Medical Officer, Ochsner Health System. "Almost 1,000 more nonsmokers will die from exposure to secondhand smoke. Twenty times that many will die from smoking-related diseases. And still, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States."

"We can no longer ignore this healthcare crisis," said Quinlan. "We encourage other companies in Louisiana to join Ochsner and become completely tobacco free."

Ochsner Health System is proudly living the legacy of its founder, Dr. Alton Ochsner, who discovered the link between tobacco use and lung cancer. Living the Legacy, as Ochsner's tobacco-free program is called, is part of Ochsner Health System's healthy living initiative which includes healthier food options in the hospital cafeterias and vending machines, nutrition education, stress management tools and fitness incentives.

To learn more about Living the Legacy or for smoking cessation resources, please visit ochsner.org/live.



Ochsner Health System is southeast Louisianaís largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system with eight hospitals and over 38 health centers in Louisiana. Ochsner has been named the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 15 consecutive years and is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a "Best Hospital" across seven specialty categories. Ochsner employs more than 12,500 employees, over 850 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts over 300 clinical research trials annually. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.