Community Health Now Tobacco-Free By Jill Jesso-White on May 20, 2018 in Community Health News Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region Now Tobacco Free. Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region has joined the tobacco-free movement, fulfilling a promise to provide a healthy and safe environment for everyone including employees, volunteers, patients, visitors and contractors. On July 4, 2018 all CHCRR facilities became free of tobacco. Tobacco use of any kind will not be permitted anywhere on CHCRR properties including sidewalks, parking lots and in parked vehicles on the premises. “The vast majority of healthcare organizations are already tobacco-free and it was time for us to take this step,” said Anna White, CHCRR’s Human Resources Manager. “Change is hard and we are well aware of how difficult it is to quit smoking, but we are here to help. This is one more step in the right direction to help our patients, employees and visitors know that when they set foot on our campuses, we are supporting their health by breathing cleaner air,” she said. CHCRR is prepared to help employees and volunteers kick the habit if they are currently smokers by providing information and referrals to treatment alternatives and professional support. One robust resource is the state of Vermont’s 802Quits.org, an online help network that provides in-person help with Quit Partners, Quit Coaches, a toll-free help hotline and free patches and lozenges. Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death and Vermont’s Department of Health estimates that each year smoking costs $348 million in medical expenses and results in about 1,000 smoking-related deaths in the state. And, second hand smoke effects countless other lives – children, friends and family are all impacted. Tobacco, physical inactivity and poor nutrition are the three behaviors that lead to cancer, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes and lung disease. These diseases are responsible for more than 50% of the deaths in Vermont, according to the Vermont Department of Health website. As an organization that is focused on health and saving lives, Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region’s mission is to improve the health status of the people in the community, and CHCRR is taking a leading role establishing a tobacco-free health network that sets the stage for a tobacco-free community. As prospective employees and volunteers are being interviewed, they will be informed of the new policy and job postings will display a notice that CHCRR is a tobacco-free environment. CHCRR is central Vermont’s largest network of primary care, pediatric and dental services with offices in Rutland, Brandon, Castleton, West Pawlet, and Shoreham. Community Dental offices are located in Rutland and Shoreham, CHCRR Pediatrics is in Rutland and CHCRR’s Express Care centers, open 7-days a week, are located at the Rutland and Castleton Community Health Centers.