Taking Action: Smoking in a smoke-free hospital

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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.


  • audreysilk

    Please, the hypochondriacal stress and hysteria is more damaging to Mr. Kelly’s and his mother’s health than the few seconds it takes to pass cigarette smoke outdoors. What does he think he and his mother are surrounded with as they walk on the streets with traffic?? Millions of times more particulate laden than their brief encounter with outdoor smoking. Which, by the way, is likely being done by visitors with loved ones in the hospital. They are stressed too and this is their comfort which is harming no one. But no compassion for others equally in distress over an intolerance and a lie.

    • idiot

      Please, your post isn’t about compassion. You just want to complain about a “tattletale”. Secondhand cigarette smoke is harmful. That is a fact. Just because a few people don’t care about their health, it does not give them the right to “stink” up the main entrance to the hospital. I have been to this hospital many times, and this is a “dirty” problem. People have the right to smoke if they want. They also have the choice to quit. Quitting would give them a higher chance of not being hospitalized in the future, and would keep their children and grandchildren from having to smoke due to “stress”! Wake up people! Smoking is not good for anybody. Stop listening to big tobacco (if you can even see advertisements anymore), and take charge of your life! Trying to encourage someone to stop smoking….now that is true caring and compassion.

      • audreysilk

        That you think I cared about a tattletale is to believe that I’m threatened by one or that I feel guilty. I feel neither such thing. I have zero to apologize for or feel ashamed of. Though that YOU brought up the word “tattletale” speaks volumes of what’s involved: neighbor informing on neighbor. Hardly complimentary for the tattler. I don’t look at one with fear, I look at one as inferior.

        But also telling is that you moved immediately from “harm” to “stink.” Which tells me that it’s really the smell you don’t like. Civil society doesn’t rescind civil liberties based on subjective dislikes to odors. Hold your nose for the two seconds it takes you to pass, lest we one day end up with an office called the Ministry of Smells where it’s decided (by who?) what smells must be banned and which smells pass the smell test.

        Then, it’s an outright lie to say harm “is a fact” from being around cigarette smoke outdoors. There is barely a one study that even tries to quantify it. And just last year, to name just one, was this review:

        “I discovered the evidence was really weak. The evidence of harm to non-smokers on the beach or in a park from someone smoking is virtually non-existent. The evidence that fish and birds are dying because of cigarette butts is virtually non-existent. And even the evidence that seeing someone in a park or beach will encourage kids to smoke is extremely weak.” — Ronald Bayer, professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Health Affairs, July 2013 vol 32 no. 71291-1298

        As for the rest of what you wrote, let me translate it for you: “You have a choice to make the choice I tell you should be your choice. Listen to ME! Let me be your master instead.”

  • ebob2k

    In response to audreysilk’s defense of smoking anywhere near hospital property, it seems there is never a drought of nicotine addicts trying to obscure the handwriting on the wall that says, ‘Smoking is coming to an end, and will soon be banned, virtually everywhere.’ ‘Accept it, get used to it, and stop your incessant whining.’.

    Did audreysilk ever stop to think that many of those stressed visitors are at the hospital visiting patients suffering from cardio-, pulmonary or cancer-related illnesses, many of which are smoking-related? Ironic, isn’t it?

    Like most addicts, their defense of smoking contains a barrage of detritus meant to obscure the known health dangers of their habit.

    • audreysilk

      When the subject is about passing cigarette smoke but the defense is to throw around the word “addict” (as a tool to denegrate) then what we have here is the hate of the smoker. Secondary smoke is what a lot of people use as their shield to mask what’s really going on — the desire to eradicate a legal lifestyle choice others don’t approve of.

      Then you speak like an alcohol prohibitionist (lasted all of 13 years). Puhleeze, this article alone proves you wrong. People are smoking where smoking has been banned. You know why? Because there’s only so far you can push something and someone until it becomes utterly ridiculous and begs to be ignored. Good people disobey bad laws.

      Your irony is just as ridiculous. Or do you want to condemn the wife who steps out for a quick fast food burger after her overweight husband has just had a bypass? Or the man who still drives his sports car after his daughter has been in a car wreck.

      Neither any of those factors or smoking, in regard to why anyone’s in the hospital, is any of your business. Leave people alone to do what they want and stop making up or defending lies (“smoke outside is harmful”) to impose your will on others. If “whiner” is what you want to label me I’ll take it any day over intolerant busybody.

      • ebob2k

        Those mean, anti-smoking crusaders are out to ‘eradicate a legal lifestyle choice’ that will soon be illegal in more and more places.

        Why didn’t you use at least part of your rambling reply to address just how healthy, good and necessary you feel that smoking is for everyone?

        The reason is, you cannot make that argument and have any of the other readers or commenters accept it as anything other than a smoker’s fallacy.

        Tony Gwynn & Kiel Martin are just two of the many well-known people taken too soon by the ravages of tobacco, and the list of others is too long for any of these posts.

        You can continue your warm panegyric to smoking, but it will only further reinforce the apparent ignorance you seem to have of the dangers of tobacco, OR your ignorance towards others’ right to breathe clean, healthy air.

      • audreysilk

        Except I’m not making that argument. You are assuming and making stuff up as you go along. I clearly wrote that primary smoking is NONE of your business. I never took a position on the health risks of primary smoking. My position is the right to be left alone to that choice without tyrannical laws that force people to comply to someone else’s demand (no smoking). But thank you for continuing to prove that smoking bans (about exposure to others) is nothing but a cover to get to the adults who choose to smoke, not the smoke. The willful ignorance is yours because I’ve said all this already and you twist it into something else. I also continue to defend my position that the sound bite “right to breathe clean, healthy air” is nothing but emotional dribble especially when discussing cigarette smoke outdoors. There is zero valid science that anyone is harmed by passing cigarette smoke outdoors. It’s also not a zero sum game where for one group to have rights (in this case, simple displeasure) the other has none. Pleasure is subjective. How’d you like it if I was voted in charge of deciding what annoyance stays and which goes? We can start with sounds, aromas, attire, children (too noisy for restaurants!). Why stop there? Let’s move on to speech no one should be forced to hear if they don’t want to because it offends them AND would demand they only say things that are pleasing to them. Where does it stop? First a whiff of cigarette smoke you find annoying and then no perfumes, no children in public, no droopy jeans, no public discourse. You should thank me for wanting to keep that from happening in drawing a line in the sand. Either apply a principle consistently for credibility or be a shallow person who cherry-picks legislating offenses by personal whim.

      • ebob2k

        I believe your ’emotional dribble’ should have read ’emotional drivel’, but mistakes such as that can be expected when the primary thoughts in the writer’s mind are likely to be, ‘Where are my matches?’ or ‘How many cigarettes do I have left?’.

        If you really do want the right to be left alone, it should be apparent to you by this time that the only way that will happen with your smoking habit is if you move far away from, and stay far away from, the public. That’s because the public has lost, what was until recent years, its Job-like tolerance for smokers, their filthy, unhealthy habit, and the smokers’ virtually-inevitable littering of the sidewalks, streets and parks with their spent butts.

        Smokers, as a result of their near-constant disregard for others’ rights or wishes, have absolutely nobody but themselves to blame for their current plight, and they are continuing to push the public to the point where smoking will eventually be banned in every place but their houses, and even that might not be a safe smoking haven forever, especially if there are children in the house. And if you are in an apartment, you have even less time, because more and more apartments are banning indoor smoking, even in the tenants’ apartments.

        As I said in my initial post, the handwriting is on the wall and the laws will be passed and enforced, regardless of smokers’ lame excuses, heel dragging and whining about their imagined rights being trampled by the common sense of intelligent people.

        If you really insist on trying to help your pro-smoking crusade, you need to put forward some positive examples of exactly how you think that smoking is so healthy and has absolutely no deleterious effects on the non-smokers around them. That reply should make for some very amusing reading.

        To put it in military terms, smokers are currently like the Japanese after Midway: everything (regarding what smokers can do and where they can do it) will continue to go downhill (from their perspective), so smokers need to start modifying their unhealthy lifestyles to avoid being forced to go cold turkey. (Just imagine what would happen if the US government finally banned the production and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products. So keep pushing your ill-defended, pro-smoking agenda, while disregarding others’ rights, and that is exactly what you’ll eventually bring upon the smoking addicts.)

      • audreysilk

        You write: “If you really do want the right to be left alone, it should be apparent to you by this time that the only way that will happen with your smoking habit is if you move far away from, and stay far away from, the public. ”

        Then you write: “…where smoking will eventually be banned in every place but their houses, and even that might not be a safe smoking haven forever, especially if there are children in the house. And if you are in an apartment, you have even less time, because more and more apartments are banning indoor smoking, even in the tenants’ apartments.”

        Summarized, you say stay far away if you want to be left alone but we’ll follow you to the confines of your own home. It’s that sadistic mentality over a behavior that you yourself don’t have to indulge in but you can’t stand that someone else does, that explains the existence of this article. People are apparently not putting up with YOU.

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