Beginning Feb. 1, 2016, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) will become a Tobacco Free Medical Campus. No smoking will be permitted on the LRMC campus, which extends to the green perimeter fence surrounding the hospital.
The policy applies to all employees, patients and visitors at the hospital. Tobacco products and tobacco-related products will include cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco (snuff, snus and chewing tobacco) and electronic nicotine devices such as e-cigarettes.
The new policy is being implemented in support of the Army Surgeon General's Army Medicine Healthcare Covenant which promotes Tobacco Free Living and implements Tobacco Free Medical Campuses.
The initiative is also in support of the 2020 Department of Defense goal for creating a tobacco free workforce and installations. By becoming a Tobacco Free Medical Campus, the U.S. Army Medical Command policy is extending the tobacco-free zones from the current 50 feet to encompass the entire medical campus.
Tobacco use and smoking-related diseases are the leading causes of devastating, yet preventable and reversible, diseases in the United States. The Tobacco Free Living initiative is being implemented throughout MEDCOM to create a tobacco-free community that promotes the overall health of military personnel, family members, retirees and all employees on MEDCOM campuses, as well as protecting patients from second- and third-hand tobacco hazards.
Limiting tobacco use is not unique to military medicine. More than 3,700 civilian healthcare institutions have adopted tobacco-free campus policies, to include the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. Federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health & Human Services are also tobacco free campuses.
Within DoD, an increasing number of Navy, Air Force and Army Medical Treatment Facilities have already implemented tobacco-free campus policies. Despite initial concerns, the transition to a tobacco free campus has gone smoothly and is well-accepted by the majority of patients, visitors and staff.
The timing of the Feb. 1 initiative is specific to the LRMC facilities located within the green perimeter fence immediately surrounding the hospital. Other medical facilities operated and sustained by MEDCOM in Europe are scheduled to become tobacco free no later than May 2016. Those MEDCOM facilities include Army Health Clinics, Army Veterinary Clinics, Army Dental Clinics and Army Public Health Command Europe.
The MEDCOM policy applies to all personnel assigned to and working for MEDCOM, to include military, civilians, contractors and Local National employees. It also applies to anyone seeking healthcare (both inpatients and outpatients), visitors and people from other agencies and businesses that operate within or visit MEDCOM facilities and other campuses where MEDCOM facilities reside. For servicemembers assigned to MEDCOM, the rule also applies anytime while in uniform.
For all U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) servicemembers and civilians who work at LRMC, the policy means they can no longer use tobacco products during the duty day. Local National employees will be allowed to use tobacco products during non-duty hours such as lunch breaks during the work day.
Those employees, as well as visitors, will be required to smoke in designated areas outside the medical campus. Future designated areas in compliance with the new policy are only a few minutes' walk from current designated smoking areas. Signs will be placed in current tobacco-use areas to direct people to the new designated areas.
"We understand the hardship this lifestyle change can create for some users of tobacco products, but U.S. Army Medical Command is taking the lead to improve the overall health for everyone in the MEDCOM family, as well for those we are honored to serve -- our patients," said LRMC Commander Col. James Laterza. "As medical providers, every leader and employee should become a part of this health education process by modeling healthy behaviors to everyone around them by reducing or quitting their own tobacco use and supporting others who desire to do the same.
"We want to help everyone succeed in supporting this new healthy lifestyle initiative, so we are increasing our efforts to help those who would like assistance in reducing or quitting their use of tobacco products," said Laterza.
Healthcare providers, health educators, tobacco facilitators, and Army Wellness Center staffs are all trained to support employee and patient tobacco reduction and cessation efforts.
At LRMC, tobacco cessation services are available for TRICARE and non-TRICARE eligible beneficiaries by calling the LRMC Army Wellness Center at DSN 590-5881/Commercial 06371-9464-5881. Programs offered by the Internal Medicine Clinic and Family Health Clinic include one-on-one or four-session programs which combine medications and weekly meetings for psychoeducational and group support. Local National employees can seek treatment opportunities through their host nation Primary Care Provider.
Other areas to turn to for help include:
o Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) provides tobacco cessation classes/counseling for all beneficiaries, as well as nicotine replacement therapy in support of cessation efforts. For more information, contact your medical provider or their clinical team.
o The Army Public Health Center Tobacco-Free Living Toolkit can be found at http://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/healthyliving/tfl/Pages/default.aspx
o The TRICARE Tobacco Cessation webpage provides all benefits associated with tobacco cessation efforts for beneficiaries. It can be found at http://www.tricare.mil/HealthWellness/Tobacco.aspx
o Non-TRICARE civilians are provided tobacco cessation benefits through their selected health plans.
o UCanQuit2 provides Total Army Family tobacco cessation efforts with live chat sessions with a cessation coach on steps to quitting, as well as medication information. It can be found at https://ucanquit2.org/
o Federal civilian employees through the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) program have access to effective tobacco cessation services and products.
Other sources of information about LRMC going tobacco free:
• Kaiserslautern American (Jan. 22 edition)
• Town Hall Meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. on Jan. 25 in the LRMC Chapel
• U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz INFO-X Town Hall Meeting scheduled from 10-11 a.m. on Jan. 26 at the KMC Onstage theater (Bldg. 3232) at Kleber Kaserne
• Town Hall Meeting scheduled for 7 a.m. on Jan. 27 in the LRMC Chapel
• LRMC Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LRMCofficialpage
• LRMC Public Website at http://rhce.amedd.army.mil/landstuhl/index.cfm