Why Tobacco Free Share This OHSU Content

As Oregon’s only academic health center, Oregon Health & Science University is dedicated to improving the health and quality of life for all Oregonians.

For many years, OHSU has prohibited tobacco use in most areas but has maintained designated smoking areas on its grounds. With mounting evidence of the health consequences of tobacco use - including the U.S. Surgeon General’s June 2006 report on the effects of second-hand smoke and OHSU’s own leading research on health and disease - we can no longer justify supporting the use of tobacco on our premises.

Many people are not aware of how smoking impacts health care and recovery.  By making the OHSU environment tobacco-free, we are addressing one of the main health risks today.

  • Smoking is the number one reason for avoidable illness and death.
  • It is estimated that nearly one out of four OHSU patients smoke.
  • Smoking is a factor in heart disease, cancer, stroke, lung disease, diabetes, premature births.
  • Smoking costs Oregon over $1 billion annually in direct medical expenses.
  • Patients who smoke regularly before surgery have twice the risk of infection as nonsmokers.
  • Smoking slows wound healing.
  • A smoker’s broken bones take almost twice as long to heal as a non-smoker’s.

The trend toward tobacco-free environments is growing nationwide. By April 2009, at least 1,658 local and/or state hospitals, healthcare systems, and clinics have adopted 100% tobacco free campus grounds (American Non-Smokers’ Rights Foundation, 100% Smokefree U.S. Hospitals and Nursing Homes, April 20, 2009.  Available at: http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/smokefreehealthcare.pdf).  In Oregon, 39 hospitals in Oregon, including OHSU are 100% tobacco free (StepUP! Campaign. Smokefree Status of Oregon Hospital Campuses, March 2009). Available at http://www.oahhs.org/quality/initiatives/file-library/stepup-map.pdf

Because OHSU extends beyond a health system to include schools, research institutes and community service units, our goal to be tobacco-free is more far-reaching. However, it is vital to our role as an innovator in health care, education and research. We are among the few Academic Health Centers in the nation who are 100% tobacco-free with more joining us every year.