Lee Memorial: Tobacco now taboo on health-care system properties

We did it!

As of midnight, Nov. 19, Lee Memorial Health System is officially a tobacco-free organization.

That means no tobacco products, including but not limited to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, may be used on our properties — owned or leased.

Our Lee Memorial Health System team has come a long way since March, when our board of directors officially signed the documents that sent us down this path of becoming a tobacco-free organization.

This is a significant step for our organization, as we continue to strive to improve the health status of the citizens of Southwest Florida.

However, it is not just our patients who will benefit from this initiative.

Lee Memorial Health System started out with an estimated 20 percent of our workforce using tobacco products, or about 2,000 employees.

To date, more than 400 employees have said “goodbye” to tobacco. This is impressive.

Although the big day has come and gone, we know that it will be a struggle in the coming months to adjust to our new status as a tobacco-free health system, as members of our team, as well as patients and visitors, adjust their routines.

We understand that tobacco use is an addiction, and our health system will continue to provide support programs for those who want to quit or need some assistance getting through the day.

This essential step has helped us to become leaders in the fight against tobacco use in Southwest Florida.

However, Lee Memorial Health System is pleased to say that Lehigh Regional Medical Center, Physicians Regional Healthcare System and NCH Health Care System also have gone tobacco-free, meaning all hospitals and health systems in Charlotte, Collier and Lee counties no longer permit tobacco usage on their premises.

Many other local businesses have jumped on board, as well.

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