Einstein Elkins Park tobacco-free on Smokeout day

ELKINS PARK, PA.; November 17, 2011

Mike Niklauski has been a smoker since his college days.

"It just goes with certain things, like having a cup of coffee, or having a meal," says Niklauski.

But he has tried to break the habit.

"I've tried to quit before. I tried cold turkey. I tried the gum," he recounts.

But this time, Mike and his co-workers - have added motivation to quit.

Mike works at Einstein Medical Center Elkins Park & Moss Rehab, and starting today, every inch of the 60-acre campus is tobacco-free.

Education director Julie Hensler-Cullen says it was the right thing to do.

"Einstein and Moss Rehab promote health, promote wellness, so a tobacco-free policy really does allow us to ensure a healthy environment for the patients we care for.

The tobacco ban does apply to workers, patients, and visitors.

To encourage workers to quit, the hospital is offering "support bags." They include relaxation CD's, a stress-relieving sponge ball, a piggy bank for stashing money that used to be spent on cigarettes.

It also includes other distractions, such as hard candies and rubber bands.

Mike is also getting the nicotine patch at a reduced price - $4 a month now, and in January, the patch and nicotine gum will be free to Einstein employees.

After 2 weeks, it's working for Mike.

"Hopefully they can see it worked for me, and it can work for others," he says.

The tobacco-free policy is already in effect at Montgomery Hospital, which is operated by Einstein Healthcare. And it will be in effect when Einstein's new hospital outside Norristown opens next year.

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