Local Hospital's Go Smoke Free

Smoking is now banned at two local hospitals.    

Today both Baptist Saint Anthony and Northwest Texas hospital went smoke free. Which means smoking won't be allowed anywhere on their properties, including the parking lot. The Chief Medical officer at Northwest says the ban is a long time coming because you can not call yourself a health care system and not promote health. 

"Smoking is extremely harmful to ones health and there's considerable evidence that second hand smoke is. So if we allow people to smoke in a health care facility, people who aren't smoking will be harmed,"  Dr. Nathan Goldstein said.

Both hospitals say they understand how difficult it is to quit smoking, so they will sell nicotine gum and patches in their gift shop.

That same smoking ban extends to hospital employees. So B.S.A. and Northwest are offering cessation programs and incentives to help them kick the habit. One tells Newschannel 10's Stephanae Benson how she took advantage of the help and is now living a smoke free life. 

Kristal Fletcher a Baptist St. Anthony employee says when she heard the hospital was going smoke free she was upset. The hospital prepared employees for the change by offering cessation help.

"We offered no smoking classes. We actually offered to pay for those prescription drug products that help people quit smoking and they are very effective," B.S.A. CEO John Hicks said.
Fletcher says she took advantage of those prescription drugs, and did quit. 

"It helped me with the cravings and eased the tension and the nerves a little bit. There was a lot of peppermints and gum chewing."
Fletcher also says it makes her more productive at work because she doesn't take smoke breaks anymore. She also says other employees who still smoke are nervous about the change. 

"Where are they going to go what are they going to do and now they're having to find ways to cope while at work where they're having to leave the campus for their lunches."
The hospital says they will patrol areas where people tend to smoke. If caught the employee faces disciplinary action.  The first offense receives a verbal warning. The second is a write-up and the third is termination. 

Others in the community like Silvia Hodge say they think the ban is a good thing.