Covering Kentucky

Dec 31, 2012 9:00 AM

Madisonville Hospital To Ban Smoking In 2013

MADISONVILLE (AP) - Hospital patients, employees and visitors will be banned from smoking, using chewing tobacco and puffing on electronic cigarettes at Baptist Hospital Madisonville and its various campuses around western Kentucky.

The hospital is implementing the new rule on Tuesday. Hospital CEO Bert Whitaker told The Messenger both patients and visitors have objected to entering the hospital through a cloud of cigarette smoke that wafted over from nearby smoking areas.

"We expect no smoking anywhere on campus," he said. "I've seen it at numerous hospitals. When the smoking ban is enforced, then it stops."

The former Trover Health System, which merged with Louisville's Baptist Healthcare System on Nov. 1, began the process to implement its smoke-free policy in 2011 by forming a committee comprised of state and local health professionals and hospital staff.

The ban applies to facilities in Madisonville, Providence, Greenville, Dawson Springs and Hopkinsville.

The three designated smoking areas outside the building were being eliminated this week.

Security officers will hand out courtesy cards if they see someone smoking on the property, Whitaker said. If someone chooses not to comply, it will be considered trespassing and the police will be called, he said.

"We won't be confrontational," he said. "We have the responsibility to make this a safe and healthy environment."

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Information from: The Messenger, http://www.the-messenger.com

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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