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Hospital goes smoke-free

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Whidden Hospital will become a tobacco-free facility as of Jan. 1. Cambridge Health Alliance recently announced that as of the new year, tobacco use of any kind will be prohibited in all the owned and leased properties in its public health care system, including its Cambridge, Somerville, and Whidden hospital campuses and its network of primary and specialty care centers. The new policy will include the removal of designated smoking areas outside all its facilities. “This is an important step to protect the health of our patients and provide a healthy environment for them and for those of us who work here,” Allison Bayer, the alliance’s acting chief executive officer, said in a written statement. To support workers who would like to quit smoking, the alliance launched a comprehensive tobacco cessation program on Nov. 17, the date of the annual Great American Smokeout. It also offers one-on-one counseling for patients at four of its health centers, and a weekly six-session group that is free and open to any of its patients. - John Laidler

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