Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital have earned Gold Star status for achievements in tobacco control in the outpatient setting by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as part of its Tobacco-Free Hospitals Campaign.
While smoking rates among adults are at an all-time low of 13.9 percent, tobacco use is still the leading cause of premature, preventable deaths in New York City. An estimated 13 percent of Queens and Nassau County residents smoke, according to DOH statistics.
As participants in the Tobacco-Free Hospitals Campaign, both hospitals have previously received Bronze Star and Silver Star recognition for excellent work in tobacco control for smoke-free environments and inpatient care.
For this latest award, the hospitals submitted data from the last quarter of 2015 to the DOH verifying the number of outpatients screened for tobacco use and types of smoking cessation support offered.
Between October and December 31, 2015, 99 percent of patients (947 out of 951) at LIJ Medical Center’s outpatient facilities – both primary care and other specialties – were asked about their tobacco use. Of those screened, 50 outpatients (5 percent) were identified as smokers, and 46 received tobacco treatment counseling and cessation medications as needed.
“This award affirms our commitment to providing comprehensive patient care,” said Michael Goldberg, executive director of LIJ Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
At the Northwell Health Multi-Specialty Medical Group in Rego Park, NY, data was collected on a sample of 135 patients from the same time frame in 2015. Of that sample, all were asked about their tobacco use. Nearly 7 percent identified as smokers and were provided with cessation counseling and cessation medications.
“As healthcare leaders, we must tackle the battle against smoking and tobacco products to prevent illness in our community, and our success is shown through our Gold Star status," said Susan Browning, executive director of LIJ Forest Hills Hospital in Queens. “This comes on the heels of recently earning Silver Star status for our tobacco cessation efforts.”
Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths nationwide each year, including approximately 41,000 due to exposure to secondhand smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Northwell Health’s smoking cessation programs have offered support to smokers who want to kick the nicotine habit since 2000. Nearly 10,000 community members have participated in Northwell’s cessation program offered through the Center for Tobacco Control, which provides support to discharged patients who are more motivated to remain smoke-free after their hospital experience. For more information about the program, call 516-466-1980 or email [email protected].