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NEWS | Feb. 6, 2013

Naval Health Clinic Charleston's campus goes tobacco free

By Capt. Mary Kim Kenney-Gutshall Naval Health Clinic Charleston, commanding officer

Naval Health Clinic Charleston is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and military readiness. Beginning March 1, 2013, NHCC will become a completely tobacco-free command.

All patients, visitors, volunteers and staff (military, federal, contract) will be required to refrain from using tobacco products on the NHCC campus, which includes all buildings, parking areas, vehicles in parking areas, common areas and sidewalks. Our command will no longer have a designated tobacco use area.

The use of all smoked tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars and pipes, and all smokeless tobacco products including dip, chewing tobacco and snuff will be prohibited. Additionally, per BUMEDINST 6200.12A, electronic nicotine delivery devices are banned at all Bureau of Medicine and Surgery facilities in addition to Navy Medicine sponsored activities. Tobacco use outside the NHCC campus is subject to Joint Base Charleston regulations.

This initiative aligns with the Chief of Naval Operations and the Navy Surgeon General in assisting and encouraging all tobacco users to stop tobacco use. Establishing a tobacco-free campus clearly demonstrates NHCC's commitment to the health and well-being of our people. As a healthcare facility, we have an obligation to provide a healthy tobacco-free environment for everyone who visits our campus.

The decision to go tobacco-free is not meant to force anyone to quit using tobacco products. People who use tobacco may find this policy change difficult to comply with at first. To make the transition as easy as possible, the Wellness Clinic will provide group and individual tobacco cessation counseling to staff and beneficiaries upon request, as conveniently scheduled as possible. The Wellness Clinic can also provide free phone and internet resources.

We are working with JB Charleston leaders to help educate the general public. We will provide information to help our patients and visitors deal with this initiative in a positive manner.

This is an important milestone in our journey towards a healthier workplace. Feel free to call our Wellness Clinic at 794-6910 or contact your chain of command if you have any concerns.