QUITzone El Rio Community Health Center
El Rio Community Health Center Moves To Create
Smoke-free Campuses For Patients, Staff and Visitors
Applauded as an Arizona QUITZone
On April 7, 2010, El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson, AZ (www.elrio.org) was presented with a QUITZone Certificate of Excellence for meeting the requirements of an Arizona tobaccofree healthcare organization. El Rio Community Health Center is one of the largest clinics in the nation providing affordable medical and dental care to over 275, 000 patients annually, many of whom are living below the poverty line.
To fulfill the recommendations of the Public Health Service Guideline (The Guideline), Arizona designed and implemented a tobacco-free campus procedure to identify and recognize qualifying QUITZone Centers. A QUITZone Center is an Arizona healthcare organization that designates itself as a tobacco-free campus and utilizes Arizona Department of Health Services resources to promote the health and safety of patients, visitors, and employees.
This initiative is managed by the HealthCare Partnership at The University of Arizona to promote, support and recognize healthcare organizations that establish tobacco-free campuses. Recognized organizations are dedicated to the prevention and treatment of tobacco use and dependence. In this effort, they establish and foster relationships with tobacco control partners within Arizona communities.
Systems changes recommended by The Guideline state that provider education on tobacco treatment is more effective when leadership is motivated to put new policies and systems in place that promote widespread changes in provider practices for treatment of tobacco use. This requires transforming a healthcare system that is primarily reactive, to one that is more proactive in the prevention of tobacco related chronic disease. Research has demonstrated that more restrictive smoking bans prompt greater abstinence rates. As a result of these findings and due to strengthening of quality measures on addressing tobacco use among certain patients by the Joint Commission, momentum for tobacco-free healthcare ground policies has increased across the U.S.
There are more than 1,600 U.S. hospitals and nursing homes that have implemented such policies (American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 2009). As of February 2008, 45 percent of US hospitals had adopted "smoke-free campus" policies. The policy supports that all property owned or leased by the hospital, both indoors and outdoors, was smoke-free and there were no designated smoking areas on these properties. (Williams et al, 2009)