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Hospital Bans Smoking in Parking Lot

January 29, 2008
KMGH TV Hospital Bans Smoking In Parking Lot All Areas Of St. Joe's Campus Now Off-Limits To Smokers POSTED: 12:28 pm MST January 2, 2008 DENVER -- If you light up at St. Joseph's hospital you might have to talk with a nice security guard. Even outside, or on the sidewalk, or even in your own car. Smokers will have to cross the street to smoke from now on. "But it's only crossing the street. I don't think it's that bad," said Daniel La Porte, a hospital valet worker. La Porte said he supports the ban which went into effect on Jan. 1. It's not a law, but an Exempla policy intended to make the entire campus surrounding St. Joseph's tobacco free. "It's about promoting a healthy image for our employees and our patients and the community," said Dr. Mark Simon, OBGYN. For more than a year, a task force made up of doctors and employees looked at a campus-wide ban on smoking. Surveys showed a majority of employees supported it. "I don't really mind it. 'Cause I think everybody that works here, especially people that work here in the front, like me, I don't think that we should on the premises," La Porte said. "I won't be out here as much," Walter, a patient at St. Joe's told 7NEWS. But he was clearly miffed when guards asked him to drag his medical monitoring equipment off the driveway and onto the sidewalk. "I don't know. Seems like I gotta go down this big old hill just to smoke a cigarette. And I guess the hardest thing is going back up the hill. Hehe." Even smokers in their own cars in the open air parking lots and parking garages can expect to hear about the new policy. But they don't have to worry about a ticket. "To begin with it's going to be kind of a kind and gentle implementation," said Pete Moberg, Communications Director for Exempla St. Joseph's Hospital. Moberg said employees could be disciplined if they refuse to adhere to the new rule. The hospital will also help them kick the habit by offering free or reduced cost smoking cessation products and services. Even patients and their family members can take advantage of the offer. According to the state Health Dept. St. Joseph's joins a growing list of 12 Colorado hospitals banning smokers from the health campuses. Click here for a list of smoke-free hospitals in Colorado Longmont United and four others will also force smokers off-site by August of this year. Copyright 2008 by TheDenverChannel.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.