PITTSBURGH - Beginning Tuesday, UPMC will ask employees, students and volunteers to be smoke and tobacco-free during their entire shift.
"We're committed to maintaining a healthy environment for employees, patients and our visitors," said Greg Peaslee, UPMC executive vice president and chief human resources and administrative services officer. "By reducing exposure to tobacco products, we can help the UPMC experience to be a positive one."
Officials stressed that UPMC is not asking employees to quit smoking, only to comply with the new policy.
Tobacco use is not permitted on any UPMC property, and starting Tuesday, the policy will be extended to prohibit tobacco use for the entire work shift or assignment, including paid and unpaid breaks. Individuals also cannot smell of smoke during work.
"The health risks of smoking are well-documented," said Marc Manley, M.D., vice president of population health management, UPMC Health Plan. "There also is evidence of danger from second-hand smoke, and even 'third-hand' smoke. Residue from tobacco smoke can cling to skin, hair and clothing long after someone has finished smoking, and can be an irritant to others."
UPMC announced the smoke-free shift policy last July to give ample time for individuals to access UPMC's tobacco-cessation tools and resources, officials said. (CLICK HERE to read our previous story.)
The tools and resources include online support, health coaching, nicotine replacement products, text tips for quitting and LifeSolutions, UPMC's employee assistance program.