Smoke-Free Hospitals

By: April Douglas
By: April Douglas

Florida restaurants were the first to pull the plug on smoking. Now, Tallahassee hospitals are following suit.

Mary Lescher, a respiratory therapist, says, "Want to promote better healthcare in [the] community [and] no longer smoke on premises of Tallahassee Memorial Hospital."

For TMH employees like Leanne Heirman, that meant kicking a 16-year-old habit.

Leanne says, "53 days and counting. First couple of days [were] rough, but after three, four days, [it’s a] little easier."

Leanne had help putting down the pack. TMH picked up the tab for smoking cessation classes to help employees like her use the new policy as a means to quit smoking.

Leanne says, "I've always wanted to go back to being a non-smoker."

The new tobacco-free policy just doesn't affect hospital physicians and personnel. Patients and visitors have to put out the fire too, a rule that doesn't sit well with smokers.

Jenith Blitch, visiting Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, says, "If you're outside, [I] don't see where it affects someone. [It’s a] stressful time, [they] shouldn't tell us we can't smoke."

In limited cases, patients under physician's orders can light up if the doctor determines tobacco withdrawal would interfere with treatment. Other than that, leave them at home or leave them behind like Leanne.


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