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Smoking policy lacking at local hospital; smoke shack still not moved at courthousePosted 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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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