Break the Habit: The 37th Great American Smokeout

By: Allison Robinson, Director, UPMC Environmental Initiatives, and Stephanie Stanley

The American Cancer Society is marking the 37th Great American Smokeout tomorrow by encouraging smokers to kick the habit.
The cumulative impact of smoking extends far beyond immediate nicotine satisfaction. Smoking affects your health, your wealth and your social life.
Studies have shown that smokers incur greater health care costs than non-smokers. Among other things, smoking causes:
  • Suppressed immunity resulting in increased frequency of communicable illnesses such as colds, flu, etc.
  • Premature births, resulting in lifelong health complications.
  • Increased  risk for lung cancer, emphysema and respiratory complications.
  • Reduced effectiveness of some medications.

There’s also an economic impact associated with smoking, including lost work hours and wages associated with smoke-break frequencies, an increased susceptibility to illness resulting in increased sick days and absenteeism and payment of high taxes for both tobacco and non-tobacco nicotine products
For non-smokers, smoking results in unappealing smells, tearing eyes, and coughing and wheezing when in close proximity to smokers. Many try to avoid exposure risk to second-hand smoke, which is associated with cancer.
UPMC maintains a smoke-free campus, meant to assure a quality health service experience and safe work environment.  Smoking is prohibited at all UPMC hospital campuses and owned facilities. Additionally, UPMC does not allow use of electric cigarettes of any kind anywhere other than designated smoking areas. Signage providing guidance regarding designated smoking areas is located at main facility entrances. Additional guidance to designated smoking areas can be found in wayfinding pamphlets.
For those interested in quitting, resources for smoking cessation include: