September 30, 2009
Starting Thursday, smoking is banned in what's called the "clean air zone" on UVa. Medical Center property. That zone includes outdoor areas in front of the hospital, the Primary Care Center, the Elson Student Health Center, and all parking garages.
Medical Center staff says they know coming to the hospital can be a stressful situation, one many of its visitors may relieve by smoking.
"If someone came in for trauma and the family member doesn't want to walk a distance to smoke, we would provide a nicotine lozenge to help alleviate the symptoms," said Reba Camp, of the UVa. Environment of Care.
Additionally, officials say there will be comfort kits for visitors. Those kits will include tips on how visitors can handle non-smoking for brief periods of time.
The goal is to protect visitors to the hospital from second-hand smoke, and that is a big reason why the center is getting rid of the designated smoking shelter and going smoke free on grounds.
"Many of our patients, visitors, and employees have respiratory problems and walking through the gauntlet of smoke was really compromising their health," said Camp.
Camp says smoking has been banned inside the UVa. Medical Center for years now, and to create a healthy environment outside the center, smoking cannot be allowed.