MEDIA CONTACT(S): Kiska Workman Director, Marketing and Communications MEDIA: 713-442-5332 General Inquiries: 713-442-0000 Kiska.Workman@Kelsey-Seybold.com 2/21/2008 PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release Generic HTML Content Kelsey-Seybold Clinic Unveils “Tobacco Free For Life” Page Content Employers of tobacco users have a new resource to help employees kick the habit. This week, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic unveiled its Tobacco Free for Life program, designed to assist employers in providing employees an effective way to quit using tobacco. "We designed the Tobacco Free for Life program to offer employers an effective way to help their employees succeed at quitting tobacco," said Robert Dickinson, M.D., executive director of Corporate Health and Wellness at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. Smoking alone is estimated to cost the American economy $150 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each smoking employee costs his or her employer an additional $3,391 each year in decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and extra health care costs. "Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with health issues that can be traced back to their tobacco habit," Dr. Dickinson said. "This program supports the individual who wants help and the employer that wants a healthy workforce." Houston employers have another incentive to help their employees kick the tobacco habit. The New Year brings the initiation of the City of Houston's decision to ban smoking from public buildings and workplaces. The confidential program is designed to support employees who want to stop smoking or using other tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco. Tobacco Free for Life is led by certified tobacco cessation specialists who conducts on-site meetings for employees interested in learning ways to successfully quit tobacco. Sessions include coaching and the opportunity for participants to discuss their struggles within a group setting. Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, through the Tobacco Free for Life program, has also teamed with the American Cancer Society's Quitline® to provide telephonic counseling services to those individuals who want additional support to live a tobacco-free lifestyle. Tobacco Free for Life is part of Kelsey-Seybold's Wellness For Life product line and is offered to Houston-area employers. Tobacco is known for its debilitating impact on the body's many systems. Different forms of tobacco impact different systems, but here's an example of what happens to someone who decides to stop smoking. Twenty minutes after not smoking: Blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal levelsHand and foot temperatures increase to normal levels After eight hours: Carbon monoxide in the blood dropsOxygen levels increase to normal levels One day later: Risk of heart attack begins to decrease Two days after quitting: Damaged nerve endings begin regeneratingSenses, specifically taste and smell, improve In two to 12 weeks: Circulation and breathing improvesWalking becomes easier One to nine months after cessation: Shortness of breath improvesOverall energy increasesLungs begin to self-clean and reduce infectionRespiratory ailments like coughing, sinus congestion and fatigue decrease One year later: Risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker Five years later: Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmokerRisks of cancers in the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker. "There is no better time to stop using tobacco than right now," Dr. Dickinson said. About Kelsey-Seybold Kelsey-Seybold Clinic is Houston's premier multispecialty group practice, founded in 1949 by Dr. Mavis Kelsey in Houston's renowned Texas Medical Center. More than 450 physicians and allied health professionals practice at 24 locations in the Greater Houston area. Kelsey-Seybold offers quality medical care in 55 medical specialties. The organization operates the largest freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Center in the state of Texas and offers state-of-the-art Varian TrueBeam and Varian Edge radiation therapy technology at a nationally accredited Cancer Center. An accredited Sleep Center, comprehensive laboratory services, advanced imaging and diagnostics, 16 onsite Kelsey pharmacies, and MyKelseyOnline, a secure web portal, are part of its comprehensive offerings. Kelsey-Seybold partners with major insurers to offer value-based commercial health plans. KelseyCare Advantage, a Medicare Advantage plan offered to Houston-area beneficiaries and affiliated with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, has achieved the coveted 5-out-of-5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for three consecutive years and is the only 5-out-of-5-star rated plan in Texas. Kelsey-Seybold has been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as the nation’s first accredited Accountable Care Organization and a Level 3 (highest) Patient-Centered Medical Home. Kelsey-Seybold has many physicians in the Greater Houston area certified for excellence in diabetes and heart and stroke care by the NCQA. In addition to these recognitions, Kelsey-Seybold is home to a nationally accredited Breast Diagnostic Center, and Endoscopy Center.