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Cary Medical Center recognized for tobacco-free achievements

CARIBOU — The annual Gold Star Standards of Excellence Hospital and Healthcare Organization Program Awardees have been announced for 2021. The program of the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breathe Easy Initiative recognized 32 hospitals, eight healthcare organizations, and one individual Gold Star Champions for efforts to address tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Celebrated organizations received a plaque for their achievements in advancing their campus smoke and tobacco-free policies as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.

Cary Medical Center was recognized for meeting Platinum level through the 2021 Gold Star Standards of Excellence program for efforts to prohibit smoking and tobacco use on campus and addressing client tobacco use. This was the 10th year Cary Medical Center has participated in the initiative showing a longstanding commitment to addressing tobacco use and exposure.

“Cary Medical Center is dedicated to providing its patients, visitors, staff, volunteers and providers with a safe and healthy environment,” says Kris Doody, RN, CEO of Cary Medical Center. “Maintaining a 100 percent smoke and tobacco-free campus shows Cary Medical Center’s commitment to be a leader in creating healthier communities.” 

All Maine hospitals and healthcare organizations were encouraged to apply for recognition. This year marks the 12th annual hospital Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program and the second year healthcare organizations were invited to apply for recognition. Organizations are recognized at the Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels. These 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.

“We applaud the ongoing efforts of Maine hospitals and healthcare organizations to address tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure and nicotine dependence by meeting the Gold Star Standards of Excellence,” says Kristen McAuley, tobacco prevention services director for the Center for Tobacco Independence. She continued, “Addressing tobacco use has continued importance during the current pandemic, as the US CDC states that being a current or former cigarette smoker increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”

For more information about the Gold Star Standards of Excellence, please visit BreatheEasyMaine.org/GSSE.

The Breathe Easy Initiative at the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence is dedicated to providing Maine’s hospitals with the information and resources needed to make all organizations smoke and tobacco-free. Learn more at BreatheEasyMaine.org.

The program is funded by Maine Prevention Services. Maine Prevention Services is an initiative through the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention working across the state to impact tobacco, substance use, and obesity.

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