Pen Bay Medical Center has been recognized for implementing tobacco-free campus policies through the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network’s Gold Star Standards of Excellence program, a program of the Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine.

Pen Bay Medical Center, a gold-level award winner, is one of 33 Maine hospitals recognized by the Gold Star Standards of Excellence program this year. The program encourages and awards Maine hospitals for meeting best-practice standards for creating a tobacco-free environment and supporting tobacco-free lifestyles. All Maine hospitals that meet at least seven of the 10 standards are invited to apply, and they are recognized at the gold, silver or bronze levels, depending on the number of evidence-based strategies they have met.

"Hospitals are health and wellness role models for their communities, so it's important for them to set an example around reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke," said Breathe Easy Coalition Program Coordinator Sarah Mayberry. "The Gold Star Standards of Excellence program is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of Maine hospitals to create policies addressing these issues."

Pen Bay Medical Center and the other recognized hospitals are addressing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke through comprehensive policies, education, social norm change and treatment support. The 10 Gold Star Standards of Excellence include creating a 100 percent tobacco‑free campus, implementing evidence-based treatment strategies, divesting from tobacco industry stock, promoting smoke‑free lodging options for visitors, and providing tobacco treatment and medication benefits for employees.

As an example of Pen Bay’s steps towards excellence, the Pen Bay Medical Staff Executive Committee, on behalf of the Medical Staff of Pen Bay Medical Center, recently resolved that all practitioners will support Pen Bay Medical Center's Tobacco-Free Policy. Tobacco use in and around the medical center undermines medical treatment and poses health and safety risks for patients, visitors and employees. Adopting a tobacco-free policy is an example of the hospital's commitment to the health of the Midcoast community.

Pen Bay Medical Center also held The Great Pen Bay Smokeout Thursday, Nov. 19, where acupuncture, one-on-one counseling and nicotine replacement therapy information were offered to employees.