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Tobacco-free Policy Frequently Asked Questions

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UNC Health Care moved to a tobacco-free campus on July 4, 2007.

Resources are available to help you quit smoking and using tobacco today. Contact the Nicotene Dependence Program to learn about the resources available for smoking cessation. You can also dial North Carolina's "Quitline" at 1-800-784-8669. Additional quit smoking resources for patients are available here.

 Below are answers to some of the most frequent questions asked when UNC Health Care moved toward a tobacco-free campus:

1. Why is UNC Health Care moving to a tobacco-free campus?

  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of death and disease in the U.S.
  • Secondhand smoke is a major cause of disease, including lung cancer and coronary heart disease, in healthy, nonsmokers. A tobacco-free campus is intended to eliminate the potential for exposure to second-hand smoke and smokeless tobacco products on UNC Health Care’s campus.
  • To create a healthier environment for patients, visitors and employees at UNC Health Care.
  • To increase our involvement in treating tobacco use by patients, visitors and employees.
  • Smoking is a factor in the top four causes of death.
  • Patients who smoke regularly before surgery have twice the risk of wound infection as nonsmokers.
  • Smoking retards wound healing.
  • A smoker’s broken bones take almost twice as long to heal as a nonsmoker.
  • More than 430,000 people die prematurely each year from a smoking related disease.


2. How does this policy differ from our existing tobacco policy?

  • Our existing tobacco policies prohibit smoking indoors but allow it in designated outdoor areas. Effective July 4, 2007, the tobacco-free policy prohibits smoking anywhere on UNC Health Care’s main campus and off-site and ancillary locations.


3. What other North Carolina Hospitals have/will have a similar policy to ours?

  • More than 35 percent of the Hospitals in North Carolina are already tobacco-free. UNC Health Care is joined in its decision to move to a tobacco-free campus July 4, 2007, by Rex Healthcare, Chatham Hospital,  Duke University Health System and WakeMed Health and Hospitals.


Combined, these three health systems have nearly 3,000,000 patient encounters per year, serving patients from all 100 counties in North Carolina. Together, the three systems employ nearly 40,000 health care workers.


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