Excerpt from DDT...
"The decision to ban smoking inside or outside on any Delta Regional Medical Center property is a good one and a long time coming. It makes no sense for many places of business to have no-smoking policies inside a building force patrons to walk through a smoking area when entering the building. That had been the case at DRMC. However, beginning July 4, 2007, that will not be an issue. "
“This is part of an initiative from the Mississippi Hospital Association that's designed to improve the health of Mississippi,” said Gay Pieralisi, director of marketing and managed care. Hospitals throughout the state are becoming smoke-free, she said, and now is a good time for DRMC be part of that. Smoking has been banned from inside DRMC facilities for a number of years, but now there will be no designated smoking areas outside on hospital grounds.
The rule doesn't just apply to smoking; all tobacco products will be banned, and the rule applies to visitors and employees of DRMC. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death, according to Dr. Rodney Frothingham, chief medical director of The King's Daughters Hospital/West Campus of DRMC. “Our role here is to see after the health and welfare of the community we serve, and it would be inappropriate for us not to address the biggest single cause of preventable death in the United Sates,” Frothingham said. “This is something we can do something about.”
Frothingham explained that tobacco has a powerful addiction, but it can be overcome. “Tobacco use accounts for more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Frothingham said. “More than alcohol, cocaine, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fire and AIDS combined.”
It seems that not everyone is thrilled with DRMC's decision to go smoke-free. I received several comments from readers who believe that this is the ultimate indignity. One reader commented, "They won't stop us from smoking. They just make it more difficult for us to have to walk across the street... we are still going to smoke."
True enough, there are those who would rather "fight than quit." Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs known to man, and most smokers can't do it alone. The good news is that Blue Cross of Mississippi is offering support by providing free smoking cessation tools...patches, nicotine gum, etc. Most smokers will tell you they wish they could quit and hopefully, this will give them the incentive to at least try.
Personally, I think this is one time DRMC got it right! Hopefully, all major employers will follow suit and go smoke-free.