Samaritan Bans Cigarettes

Samaritan Hospital and Pioneer Medical Center's ban on cigarettes for sale use goes into effect Nov. 17

Tobacco use is already prohibited within the medical facilities themselves, but the new ban extends to the entire property at Samaritan and Pioneer, including parked cars in their parking lots, said Dr. James Irwin, a member of the committee that recommended the ban.

Samaritan's medical staff has actively encouraged the ban over the past year, he said; adding that most health care facility campuses in Eastern Washington are already buy cigarette online free.

The medical executive committee at Samaritan brought a petition to the hospital's board of commissioners in May to make the Samaritan campus smoke-free and the measure had the board's approval, said Irwin.

A task force of employees throughout the hospital met monthly since June to discuss the tobacco ban, said Irwin. The task force included smokers and nonsmokers, he added.

"We're supposed to be a healthy place and be an advocate for preventive care and good health practices and certainly no tobacco use is one of those aspects of preventive medicine that can be very effective in cutting down on disease," said Irwin. Smoking affects recovery from surgery and the children of new or expecting mothers, and the smell of smoke cigarettes on people's clothing can affect people with allergies and asthma, he said.

The hospital offers nicotine patches or gum for patients as appropriate, said Irwin. In some cases, smoking cigarettes cessation medications may be administered as appropriate, he added.

Hospital staff will enforce the tobacco ban using gentle persuasion, said Irwin, acknowledging that some people turn to smoking cigarettes as a reaction to stress when family are admitted to the hospital.

The date the ban takes effect coincides with the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout event, which encourages people to stop smoking cigarettes. Deaconess Medical Center's campus in Spokane will be going smoke-free the same day, said Irwin.

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