Taking Action: Smoking in a smoke-free hospital

FLORENCE, Ala (WHNT) – It`s a habit that’s causing Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital problems. Florence resident Joe Kelly informed us about an issue he has noticed since last year. Smokers are smoking in non-smoking areas at the hospital.

“I had my mother, you know coming in and having to walk around the garage and a few hundred feet extra to try to bypass the smoke when she came in to visit,” said Kelly.

He says he notified hospital management last year. Management said it would take action but Kelly says otherwise.

“People will still sit right there beside the no smoking sign and smoke. Look right over the wall there`s still a lot of cigarette butts right there. So that`s still showing me a lot of activity,” said Kelly.

We took action and contacted Tom Whetstone, the hospital’s communications director.

“We have security in the hospital that does regular rounds. When they are making their rounds, and they become aware of individuals smoking in those areas they do direct them to where the identified smoking area is on the side of the hospital,” said Whetstone.

He said the hospital has tried to enforce smokers to smoke in the area designated for smokers since the hospital became a nonsmoking hospital.

“There`s multiple signs throughout the area. So signage in itself isn`t working. I think, just one of the other alternatives we have would be to try to make more frequent tours and visits within that location and area with security and an effort to redirect people to the proper location,” said Whetstone.

A step management says it will take soon and a step Kelly hopes will fix the problem.

‘The doctors and nurses, I mean I give them all an A plus. They really care about their patients.  And I wish it would address this issue because I just think it`s a black eye against the hospital,” said Kelly.

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