May 31, 2016 - May 31st is World No Tobacco
Day as the World Health Organization puts the spotlight on tobacco harms
-- and advocates for policies to reduce consumption. Today we learn more about
CAMH’s role as a tobacco-free pioneer.
“Our fresh-air zone across all CAMH sites promotes evidence-based wellness to
improve the health of our patients, staff and community,” says Kim
Bellissimo, VP of HR and Organizational Development, and co-sponsor of
CAMH’s Tobacco-Free Sustainability Project.
As other hospitals prepare to implement or enhance tobacco-free policies,
CAMH is offering its best advice and lessons learned from being a tobacco-free
CAMH is leading by example to:
- Promote health by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke;
- Make people aware of the impact their tobacco use has on others; and
- Sustain a healthy environment where patients, staff and visitors can breathe
freely and heal fully.
Ontario Act requires all hospitals and psychiatric facilities to remove
designated smoking areas by January 1st, 2018. CAMH was one of the first
Canadian hospitals to go tobacco-free, and we are now part of a growing trend
across health centres nationwide.
As many hospitals prepare for this change, CAMH is receiving more requests to
partner and share lessons learned from our tobacco-free implementation.
Earlier this year, Kim Bellissimo presented to the Ontario Hospital
Association on CAMH’s tobacco-free program, with her project co-sponsor Dr.
Tony George, CAMH’s Chief of Addictions and Concurrent Disorders. They
shared lessons learned over the past several years, and described the key steps
to go tobacco-free.
“Rolling out a tobacco-free environment is a journey, beginning with learning
about how tobacco-free would affect our organization and communicating the
change to our clients and staff,” Kim said. CAMH has been officially
Tobacco-Free since 2014 and continues to optimize its processes to sustain that
A critical part of any change management strategy is to understand what
aspects are most effective. CAMH has accumulated meaningful “lessons learned
that can be shared with external organizations to help them implement a
Tobacco-Free environment, as well as strengthen our own organization in future
change management initiatives.
Here are some of the key lessons from our tobacco-free journey:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate!
- Develop a governance structure of inter-professional dedicated team
- Engage the surrounding community in the early stages.
- Get clinical staff on-board.
- Set clear incentives and disincentives and be prepared to deliver on
- Consider the benefits of a big-bang versus phased approach.
- Consider timing with other changes within the hospital and health care
- Commit resources to a sustainability phase.
Since its presentation to the OHA this spring, CAMH received more than 20
requests from organizations to learn more; these include the University Health
Network, Kingston General Hospital, Cancer Care Ontario, Muskoka Algonquin
Healthcare and more.
“We’ll continue to share the knowledge we’ve gained from our tobacco-free
journey,” said Kim, “and we appreciate the continued support of all of our CAMH
staff and patients.”
Learn more: Click here to view a
chart illustrating the detailed steps CAMH has taken to go
tobacco-free, from change management, to implementation, to the current
sustainability phase where CAMH can share its journey and lessons learned along