Canadian classic rockers PRISM are helping Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) kick-start an awareness campaign to get staff, patients and visitors to stop smoking at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).

Part of the awareness campaign features an educational music video for staff, hosted on VCH’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/VCHhealthcare) and the VCH website (www.vch.ca).

Members from PRISM joined musical VCH staff to produce and play in the video, which features a rewrite of another Vancouver group’s hit –the Powder Blues Band’s Doin’ It Right. The song’s rearranged lyrics (thanks to permission from songwriter Tom Lavin) deliver the stop-smoking message in an innovative way that lets both staff and patients know that help is available to them when they are ready to kick the habit.

“Second-hand smoke is harmful to everyone. It hurts our staff and our patients and slows patient recovery,” says Goldie Luong, Director of Special Projects at Vancouver General Hospital. “As healthcare workers, we all have an obligation to model good health practices and to protect everyone from the toxic effects of second-hand smoke. We’re hoping our staff take the lead and stop smoking on site, and that patients and visitors follow suit.”

All Vancouver Coastal Health facilities have technically been smoke-free since 2008 when the smoke-free premises policy was enacted. Still, staff, patients, and their visitors are found smoking at VGH in green spaces, sidewalks and parking lots. Of all VCH sites, VGH has the highest number of people smoking on the property.

“Research has shown that smoke-free policies do make a difference. In places where policies exist, instances of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths have decreased in the first year alone,” says Dr. Patricia Daly, Chief Medical Health Officer and Vice President, Public Health. “VCH has a smoke-free policy in place, now everyone just needs to follow it.”
Silvia Houchen, a Port Coquitlam resident, was discharged from VGH a few weeks ago after having a lung transplant, as a result of emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“I used to be a pack and a half a day smoker but I’m 100% for this campaign,” says Houchen. “When I go from one building to the other here, I see people smoking. A lot of people going to the hospital are sick, and walking through clouds of smoke really bothers them, but most people wouldn’t say anything to the smokers. Smokers need to stop smoking on hospital grounds. Period.”