If you?re coming to Union Hospital for any reason, you might as well leave the tobacco at home. As of December 8, the hospital policy will prohibit smoking or tobacco use by anybody, not only inside the building, but anywhere on hospital property.
?We?ve been moving in this direction in recent years and now seems like a great time to take the final step,? says Carey Gardner, director of development and community relations. ?Union Hospital will join nearly 70 other hospitals around Ohio in going totally smoke-free.?
In July of 2005, Gardner says the hospital banned smoking by hospital employees, medical staff, and volunteers. Starting December 8, the hospital will add patients and visitors to the list, making the hospital campus a smoke-free zone.
Gardner says the passage of the Smoke Free Workplace Act (State Issue 5) in the November 7 election confirmed the public?s readiness for removing tobacco smoke from public places.
?We believe this hospital should lead the way and champion health and wellness in the community it serves,? Gardner says. ?Keeping harmful tobacco use completely away from the hospital maintains a healthy environment for patients, visitors and employees, and re-establishes the hospitals? role as a model of good health for other businesses and the community at large.?
Gardner says that after December 8, the ashtrays outside the hospital entrances will be moved away from the doors and placed out near the parking lots. People arriving with lighted cigarettes will be asked to extinguish them before they approach the building.
Gardner says the hospital recognizes that this new policy will be difficult for some smoking addicted patients, but there is support to help them.
?Most patients are able to get through their hospital stay without smoking while they are here,? Gardner says. ?Our staff offers education and information about smoking cessation and physicians may order nicotine patches or other assistance to help the smoker cope without cigarettes.?