FOREST HILLS, NY – Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital has earned Silver Star status for its achievements in tobacco control 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 227,000 Queens residents smoke, according to DOH statistics.
"As healthcare leaders, we must tackle the battle against smoking and tobacco products to prevent illness in our community, and our successful efforts are shown through our Silver Star status, half accepted," said Susan Browning, executive director of LIJ Forest Hills Hospital.
As a participant in the Tobacco-Free Hospitals Campaign, LIJ Forest Hills submitted recent data to the DOH verifying the number of patients screened for tobacco use and types of smoking cessation support offered.
During October through December 2015, the hospital treated 4,346 patients of which 3,640 were screened for tobacco use. Of those screened, 590 were identified as smokers, half accepted smoking cessation counseling, nicotine gum, and nicotine patches, as well as referrals to the New York State Smokers Quitline and programs offered through Northwell Health Center for Tobacco Control.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths nationwide each year, including approximately 41,000 deaths due to exposure to secondhand smoke.
Northwell Health’s smoking cessation programs have been offering support to smokers who want to kick the nicotine habit since 2000. Nearly 10,000 community members have participated in Northwell’s cessation program, which offers support to discharged patients who are more motivated to remain smoke-free after their hospital experience.