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Smoking policy lacking at local hospital; smoke shack still not moved at courthouse

Posted Monday, July 30, 2012, at 11:56 AM

One would think that a hospital and its grounds would be a pretty safe bet to be a place that would be 100 percent smoke-free and tobacco-free.

However, a recent conversation with Greene County's Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Director Sandy May educated me on a fact that I simply took for granted.

Greene County General Hospital in Linton is one of very few hospitals in the state that has not adopted a comprehensive policy that mandates 100 percent smoke-free grounds.

May says Sullivan Community Hospital in Sullivan recently adopted a smoke-free campus policy -- leaving Greene County General Hospital in a very small group in the entire state that has failed to do so.

The new TCP director says she knows former director Nancy Cummings had unsuccessfully asked the hospital to adopt a smoke-free campus policy in the past.

May plans to address hospital administration in the near future to see if she can get GCGH on the smoke-free campus list.

At least 3,242 hospital, healthcare systems and clinics have adopted 100 percent smoke-free grounds policies as of July 1 that protect employees, patients and visitors from second-hand smoke in their buildings, parking lots and outdoor areas, according to the National Nonsmokers' Rights Association.

It's time that Greene County General Hospital was added to this list, which includes IU Health Bloomington Hospital and all of its facilities throughout southern Indiana, Daviess County Community Hospital at Washington, Union Hospital in Terre Haute, and Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes.

Indiana's new smoke-free policy that was effective July 1 does remedy the problem somewhat, prohibiting smoke inside the buildings and within eight feet of all entrances/exits in public buildings.

Most public buildings and businesses have also established designated smoking areas.

Greene County has had a tobacco-free ordinance effective inside county buildings since 1998, but new regulations expand the rules to incorporate with the new state law as well as adding new restrictions to smoking near building entrances and in county-owned vehicles.

The Greene County ban on smoking, chewing, consuming or use of tobacco products pertains to any public building or place of employment under the care and control of the Board of Commissioners, including facilities leased from public purposes.

The county ordinance applies to the Greene County Courthouse, Courthouse Annex, Greene County Jail, the 4-H Building (Extension Service) at the fairgrounds, as well as the highway garages.

All ashtrays and smoke paraphernalia have been removed from within 8 feet of the building entrances.

The ordinance also bans smoking inside any vehicle owned, leased or operated by the county.

While we're talking about smoking, I wonder what progress is being made on moving the "smoking shed" that's located at the county courthouse in Bloomfield.

The smoking shed is an enclosure that's located just north of the east courthouse entrance that is a place where smoking employees and visitors gather many times a day for some puffs off their favorite smoking products.

In June, County Commissioner Rick Graves stated, "The smoking shed needs to go. It needs to be relocated. It needs to go away."

Graves also instructed courthouse maintenance supervisor Tim Carpenter to find a new location for the enclosed glass structure.

"People in the smoking shed can just wander out and talk to people as they come in. We need to get rid of that ashtray and we need to get rid of that smoking shed. If they are going to smoke here (at the courthouse) they need to smoke somewhere else."

I agree 100 percent with Commissioner Graves.

The smoke shed needs to be moved or removed all together.

But reality is, here it is nearly two months later, and the smoking shed is standing at its original location on the east side of the courthouse.


Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com .

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Get kinda sick of the Non smoking B.S. It doesn't hurt to have a smoking area for those of us that enjoy a smoke. We pay taxes too maybe more than the bellyacheing non smokers. Get a life and letus enjoy ours.

-- Posted by MCM on Mon, Jul 30, 2012, at 10:10 PM

I wonder where this cash broke state will make up for 557 million dollars in tax revenue annually, when one cant smoke at all. check it out tobacco revenue, that was '09 with the last 4 tax increases, basically the state of Indiana collects nearly 3/4 of a BILLION dollars every year off tobacco revenue. As if 8 feet or 10 feet or 100 feet matter, please. Someone smokes outdoors and you are worried. Do you have any idea what our society pumps into the air, and you worry about a cigarette. I dont want them blown in my face either, but if that is the case, there are a lot of things I dont prefer, that I consider a bit bigger issue, and I dont think we should legislate.

I think most thinkers would agree that smoking shouldnt be allowed around people too young to make the decision. But does that include your yard if you live next to a little one, or in your car if there is an infant in the car following, not sure, but where does that end.

In this age of health care CRISIS, im sure this looks very viable to some, mostly upper class non smokers: but there are less paid people who make up much of our "working" class that take that smoke as one of the few things that they can count on that day. Life has kicked them in the can long enough, blame it on the cigs, thats easy.Walk a mile in her shoes and tell me differently.

Just my two cents, trying to figure out what 8 and 10 feet from a door is going to affect.

I stood behind a gentleman today at a Local fast food joint and his BO was strong, i dont think it enhanced my visit, but i also dont think that is what will probably be my demise. I will ask the Surgeon General, but tax money is short so my hopes are limbo low, so that outlawing the BO being a second hand killer will probably have to wait, ,,,,,until I die of natural causes at a young age for no reason. I suppose I digresss.

Nick you are a non smoker, and obviously support the movement.

Your opinion, although worth more than mine, is not anything more.

Your comments on smokers rights, affect much of your readership. Alienating them doesnt really do much for the cause, much less circulation.

I ask you Nick where do you come up with 3/4 Billion in tax dollars annually, as you push your virtues on nearly half the people.

I ask that not because I dont believe you know, but I want to learn.


non smoker

-- Posted by midnightrambler on Tue, Jul 31, 2012, at 2:12 AM

Look at the amount of emissions come from aircraft engines, and how many of them are in the air everyday. Cigarette smoke isnt a fraction of this. I smoke, and I am all for smoke free places. People have the right to be able to stay away from it. To not be able to smoke in a parking lot, that's absurd. The next thing everyone like Mr. Schneider will be crying about is that their taxes have went up after the state loses revenue from people not smoking.

-- Posted by migrated north on Mon, Aug 6, 2012, at 9:14 AM

I suppose the next thing to go will be campfires,you know they do make smoke and it does make it hard for to breathe when the smoke comes toward you, I really don't think a cigarette outside will have much bearing on someone walking by.Good Lord people it is outdoors you don't have to stand there and suck in the smoke.Just walk on by.

-- Posted by bloomfield51 on Mon, Aug 13, 2012, at 6:01 PM

Like many others I don't care to smell smoke on my way in to the courthouse, Walmart, etc.

I used to be a smoker and quite honestly I think it is a terrible, nasty habit and am glad that I quit. However, I do believe that smokers have the right to be out of doors with the butt of their choice at no harm to anyone but themselves.

Why aren't people making as big of a deal about obesity in this nation?

-- Posted by Phyllis Dong on Thu, Aug 16, 2012, at 3:18 PM

Nick...If you are going to voice such concern, maybe your workplace should become smokefree, since it is NOT.

-- Posted by jkwalker on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 1:13 PM

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