PUBLISHED: 4:20 PM on Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Bartlett celebrates success, works to help others quit tobacco use
JUNEAU - On April 23, 2007 the City and Borough of Juneau extended the CBJ Smoking Ban to include the campus of Bartlett Regional Hospital, the Bartlett House, the Juneau Medical Center and Wildflower Court; and prohibited the use of smokeless tobacco products on campus.

photo courtesy of Bartlett Regional Hospital
  The Bartlett campus has been tobacco free since April 2007.
Most people would agree that smoking and healthcare facilities just don't go hand-in-hand. Since June 1, 2007 the use of tobacco products on the Bartlett Regional Hospital campus has been prohibited. Initially there was some concern about potential complaints from patients and staff but a little over a year later, there seem to be few if any complaints.

One action that may have assisted with the transition to a tobacco free campus was the institution of tobacco cessation counseling and support for staff and patients.

Recently, Bartlett was awarded a Tobacco Cessation Intervention grant from the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The purpose of the grant is to provide tobacco cessation interventions as outlined in the Center for Disease Control's Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs. Bartlett's goal is to develop and implement a comprehensive system-wide practice for addressing tobacco use within the Bartlett healthcare system.

The long term goal of the grant program is to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use in health care center patient populations and to reduce the death, disability and economic burden related to tobacco use and/or exposure to tobacco smoke.

"Receiving this grant comes at a very opportune time for Bartlett having just celebrated our one year anniversary as a tobacco free campus - implementing the goals of this grant is a logical next step," says Lynda Koski, RN, CTTS (Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist) and program facilitator/educator for Bartlett.

Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death in Alaska (44% of all Alaskan deaths are tobacco related). Tobacco use and/or exposure to second hand smoke cuts short the lives of over 600 Alaskans each year.

Watching two close friends die of tobacco-related health issues this year was one reason why Harold Peterson decided it was time to quit.

Peterson, a Bartlett employee in the Information Services department, is a successful graduate of the Let's Quit Tobacco Cessation Program at Bartlett. He has been tobacco free for over 90 days now and says that he never would have been able to do it without the program.

"I've tried everything out there before this, including nicotine replacement, but without the tools and retraining the (Let's Quit) program teaches you, the other things just don't work," says Peterson.

Bartlett becoming a tobacco free campus encouraged Peterson to quit and the testimonial from a fellow employee and friend convinced him that the program works. His friend quit cold turkey and said that if it worked for him it would work for anyone.

Peterson says the most helpful part of the program is learning the skills to combat smoking (tobacco use) and how to retrain your thinking so that you will be successful. The tools taught in the classroom setting and the nicotine replacement therapy helped him quit.

"Practice makes perfect," says Peterson, "The class taught me what to think, feel and do for myself to reduce the struggle of quitting smoking."

The next class begins Sept. 23. The seven-week program costs $75. Bartlett employees may take the program free of charge. CBJ employees are reimbursed after program completion. Please inquire if you need financial assistance as scholarships are available.

To find out more about Bartlett's Let's Quit Tobacco Cessation Program call 796-8422 or email