OLBH stamping out smoking

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

RUSSELL, KY. — Those who want to smoke this fall at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital will have to take their butts elsewhere.

Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital will soon prohibit smoking in all buildings and on the grounds.

This includes offices, hallways, waiting rooms, lunch rooms, elevators, meeting rooms and community areas.

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All employees, physicians, patients, clients, contractors, and visitors will be bound by the non-smoking rule.

The new policy will be implemented November 16, traditionally observed as “The Great American Smoke Out.” Now in its 30th year, the day spotlights the dangers of smoking and challenges people to stop using tobacco.

The U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona recently issued

“The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking,” a report which outlines the dangers of secondhand smoke. The report concluded “Involuntary smoking is a cause of disease, including lung cancer, in healthy nonsmokers. The simple separation of smokers and nonsmokers within the same air space may reduce, but does not eliminate, the exposure of the nonsmoker to environmental tobacco smoke.”

Hospital officials have declared the Great American Smoke Out the perfect symbolic date to fully implement the policy and to eliminate current smoking areas. “OLBH as a hospital provider focused on quality, must provide employees and the community with an environment that supports care and healing,” said Mark Gordon, OLBH CEO.

Second-hand smoke is the combination of smoke from a burning cigarette and smoke exhaled by a smoker. The smoke that burns off the end of a cigarette or cigar contains more harmful substances than the smoke inhaled by the smoker. Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke may have an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, asthma and eye and nasal irritation.

King’s Daughter’s Medical Center in Ashland, Ky., is also planning to go entirely smoke-free in early September. Other local health-care facilities such as Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth and Cabell-Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington, W.Va. prohibit smoking in their buildings, but so have designated smoking areas outside.