Caribou Region

Tobacco policies earn local hospital platinum recognition

AUGUSTA, Maine — Cary Medical Center was recently recognized at the platinum level at the 10th annual Tobacco-Free Hospital Gold Star Standards of Excellence Awards Celebration, hosted by the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breathe Easy initiative. 

The event, held at the Maine Hospital Association on Nov. 14, recognized efforts by Maine hospitals to address tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure and was attended by hospital and public health stakeholders from across the state. Thirty-three hospitals and four individual Gold Star Champions were highlighted for their achievements in advancing their campus smoke and tobacco-free policies as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.

All Maine hospitals were encouraged to apply for 2019 recognition. Participating organizations that met at least seven of 10 standards were recognized with a plaque. Award levels are based on best practice criteria such as a smoke and tobacco-free campus policy, annual screening for tobacco use, referral to tobacco treatment and supporting employee education related to tobacco treatment. 

In 2019, Cary Medical Center was recognized for the first time at the platinum level after achieving gold level recognition from 2012 to 2018. To meet the platinum level, a new level introduced for the 2018 award year, hospitals must have met all 10 Gold Star Standards and include specific policy language and strategies for five additional requirements.

At the celebration event, each hospital was recognized with a plaque, celebrating their efforts.  Kristen McAuley, tobacco prevention services director for the Center for Tobacco Independence, shared that, “Hospitals serve as examples for health and wellness in their communities, having strong policies and procedures addressing around tobacco use and exposure sends an important message.”  

She continued, “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death, we applaud these 32 Maine hospitals for their ongoing efforts to meet the Gold Star Standards of Excellence.”

In response to the recognition, Cary’s Director of Community Relations, Bill Flagg, stated, “Cary Medical Center is committed to creating healthier communities which includes the prevention and treatment of disease. This commitment means that we are dedicated to maintaining a 100 percent smoke and tobacco-free campus which, in turn, provides patients, visitors, staff, and volunteers with a safer, healthier environment.”

For more information about Gold Star Standards of Excellence recognition program, visit

Submitted by the Community Relations and Development Office of Cary Medical Center.

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