Sioux Valley announces tobacco-free initiative

Sioux Valley announces tobacco-free initiative
On Thursday, Nov. 17, Sioux Valley Health System and the state's two other major health systems announced at a press conference their plans to move toward tobacco-free campuses in the facilities that are part of their health systems.

Representatives from Avera, Regional Health, and Sioux Valley Health Systems announced their campuses will adopt a tobacco free policy effective May 31, 2006, which is World No Tobacco Day. The announcement coincided with the American Cancer Society's 29th Annual Great American Smokeout.

"This is an exciting time for our organization to partner with other health care organizations and the governor in leading this effort which will lead to better health for our patients, visitors, physicians, and employees," said Becky Nelson, president of Sioux Valley Hospital USD Medical Center. "We celebrate this day along with the American Cancer Society's 29th Annual Great American Smokeout."

Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center is a member of the Sioux Valley Health System.

"Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country. Providing a tobacco-free campus is a logical extension of the SVVMC Mission of healing. We are pleased to be part of this initiative and are committed to extending services which assist in smoking cessation," said Timothy J. Tracy, CEO, Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center.

At the press conference, South Dakota Gov. Michael Rounds applauded Sioux Valley and the other health care organizations for the initiative.

"A tobacco-free campus might seem like a natural step for a health care institution to take. However, these facilities are also large employers and they face the same issues and challenges any employer does in going tobacco-free," said Gov. Rounds. "That's why I appreciate their leadership in this initiative and the wonderful example they're setting for all employers."

Rounds also announced that South Dakota's executive branch offices will join the effort and become tobacco free, effective May 31, 2006. In addition, Rounds challenged other businesses and organizations to do the same.

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