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Aurora Health Care Lauds State Law to Eliminate Smoking in Most Public Places

Monday, May 18, 2009

Milwaukee, Wis. -- Aurora Health Care today applauded a new state law that bans smoking in most public places in Wisconsin by July 2010.

"I applaud Gov. Jim Doyle and the state Legislature for supporting this measure because they are helping to improve the health of people throughout our state," said Nick Turkal, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Aurora Health Care. "Wisconsin needs to be smoke-free because tobacco smoke hurts everyone."

The American Cancer Society says that smoking is responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the United States. Smoking is regarded as the most preventable cause of premature death in our society.

"The actions of the governor and state Legislature will help health care providers build upon efforts they've previously put into place to address this critical public health issue," Dr. Turkal said.

Aurora has had a systemwide smoke-free policy at all hospital and clinic sites since 2006.

Aurora has been working with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health's Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention to help reduce the prevalence of tobacco use. Through this program, Aurora physicians identify tobacco users, then provide intervention and support for patients who are willing to make an attempt to quit. Just recently, 88% of Aurora patients who used tobacco were assessed for their readiness to quit.

"The actions of the Legislature will only enhance the existing efforts and better ensure that health care providers are able to improve the health of all Wisconsin citizens," Dr. Turkal said.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers care at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Contact: Sue Pierman

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