Indian River Medical Center Celebrates the Great American Smoke Out by Becoming a Tobacco-Free Campus
November 21, 2013

Indian River Medical Center (IRMC) became a tobacco-free campus November 21, 2013, coinciding with the annual Great American Smoke Out Day.

Working with CEO Jeff Susi and the Executive Management Team, members of the Tobacco Free Task Force planned strategies for an entire year to set policy, provide cessation services, and implement procedures for a tobacco free campus.  


For the health of employees, patients, and visitors, smoking or the use of any tobacco product is not allowed in any IRMC buildings or on any IRMC owned properties including parking lots, garages, and grounds.  Patients will not be allowed to leave the hospital to smoke or use tobacco at any time.

After January 1, 2014, any job applicants must be tobacco free. Current tobacco users will be provided with tobacco cessation opportunities, but they are not required to quit using tobacco.  IRMC is offering free nicotine replacement therapy and onsite cessation classes for employees, their families, and the community.

To kick off the transition, IRMC hosted an informational session on the risks of tobacco use and the importance of a tobacco-free facility during the monthly cancer lecture series. The program, entitled “Lung Cancer and Smoking: What You Need to Know and How to Quit,” featured Dr. Mark Malias, a Cardiothoracic surgeon at IRMC, and Dr. Barry Hummel Jr., FAAP, co-founder of the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation.

Malias and Hummel
Dr. Mark Malias (L) and Dr. Barry Hummel (R) spoke on tobacco issues at IRMC.

"Tobacco use is a highly addictive recreational drug," said Dr. Hummel. "While we recognize that adults may make a personal choice to use the drug, businesses have the right to restrict the use of such recreational drugs in the workplace. There is absolutely no reason that we shouldn't hold tobacco to the same standards that we use for alcohol and other recreational drugs in the workplace," added Dr. Hummel. "Smokers cost businesses nearly $6,000 each when compared to non-smokers, so this is an incredibly important economic issue for employers."

“We understand this may be a difficult transition, " said IRMC President/CEO Jeffrey Susi, "but we are committed to helping our community become tobacco free.”

For additional information, contact Leslie Spurlock, the Tobacco Prevention Specialist for Indian River County.