UPDATE 10/3/12 @ 6:45 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall Health and the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center will go tobacco free starting Nov. 15.
Although smoking has been banned inside the hospital and medical center for years, designated smoking areas were created last year as the first step of a two-step process to eliminate tobacco use on the Marshall University Health Sciences campus.
A news release sent to WSAZ.com states:
“Cabell Huntington Hospital strives to serve as a source of health, healing and education in for the Tri-State region,” said Brent A. Marsteller, president and CEO of Cabell Huntington Hospital. “The implementation of a tobacco-free policy for all of our campus and at our facilities is the right thing to do for our patients, their families, employees and the community. A tobacco-free campus enhances our commitment to provide a safe, healthy environment for those we serve.”
Reaction was mixed, as expected.
WSAZ.com caught up with Beth White and her daughter, both smokers, on their way to a doctor's appointment late Wednesday afternoon.
"A lot of the nurses were saying it's inconvenient, and it won't last long," White said. "I understand all this talk of health, but this is America. I should be able to smoke if I want to, if it's outside."
Currently, there's a designated area for staff and patients and visitors, but those exterior locations will disappear by Nov. 15, the date of this year's national Great American Smokeout.
According to a news release Wednesday, the ban is an effort to protect the health of staff, patients and visitors to the Marshall University Health Sciences campus.
This tobacco-free policy includes the hospital and medical center campus, all Marshall Health satellite offices including the Coon Education Building-School of Pharmacy, as well as all outlying Cabell Huntington Hospital Family Medical Centers and medical facilities in Huntington, Kenova and Barboursville.
“We are pleased to join with Cabell Huntington Hospital in moving toward tobacco-free campuses,” said Dr. Joseph I. Shapiro, Dean of the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “Our efforts not only will provide a safer environment for all who visit and work at our health care facilities, but also demonstrate our commitment to preserving and promoting the health of our community. We are setting a standard we hope many area businesses and organizations will embrace as well.”
On November 15 those designated areas will be removed and tobacco use will not be allowed anywhere on the hospital and medical center properties.
“Cabell Huntington Hospital strives to serve as a source of health, healing and education in for the Tri-State region,” said Brent A. Marsteller, President and CEO of Cabell Huntington Hospital. “The implementation of a tobacco-free policy for all of our campus and at our facilities is the right thing to do for our patients, their families, employees and the community. A tobacco-free campus enhances our commitment to provide a safe, healthy environment for those we serve.”
Because kicking the tobacco habit is a difficult process, Cabell Huntington Hospital will offer smoking cessation courses and resources to employees and the community, and hospital visitors will be offered free nicotine-replacement gum to curb their craving for tobacco.
Beginning November 17, 2011, the date of this year's Great American Smokeout, tobacco use will only be permitted in a designated area near the Emergency Department. According to a news release, the area is located a safe distance from hospital entrances and exits.
Then, on November 15, 2012, the date of next year’s Great American Smokeout, smoking will be prohibited in all areas of hospital campus.
This effort is being undertaken to protect the health of patients, visitors, employees, and volunteers who visit Cabell Huntington Hospital, and to comply with local clean air regulations from the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.