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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus should be smoke free

    University of Arizona Medical Center has made its own New Year’s Resolution: banning smoking anywhere near the building. Hallelujah! Smoking should be banned at all hospitals. It’s great one so close to home made this rule. If you work in the medical field, wouldn’t you, of all people, be aware of what smoking does to you? Or, if you were visiting someone in the hospital, why would you go outside and kill yourself a little more by having a cigarette? So now we not only say good bye to the “butt-huts” — which were the designated smoking areas at the hospital — but also to smoking in the parking lot, or in a car on the property.

    A hospital is a place of healing, and cigarettes only hinder that. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by AIDS, illegal drugs, alcohol, car accidents, suicides and murders combined. Smoking can be annoying anywhere, but banning it from a hospital makes the most sense.

    The medical center is not the only hospital to make this change. Slowly but surely, more and more hospitals around the U.S. are beginning to follow this movement. Not only are they banning smoking, but some hospitals will not even hire an applicant if they are a current smoker. This makes perfect sense. Nurses, doctors and all people in the medical field should be an example of health to patients, who shouldn’t have to see their nurse or doctor have a cigarette before treating them. Lung patients especially shouldn’t have to pass through a cloud of smoke, potentially being produced by the ones supposed to be caring for them, in the parking lot of a hospital. Being a smoker doesn’t define one’s character or work ethic, but for one working in the health industry, it looks better if they are in good health themselves, and help contribute to a healthy smoke-free environment.

    This smoking ban will hopefully lead to a decrease in tobacco use on the UA campus. As of right now, President Eugene Sander is not pressing the main UA campus do the same as the Health Sciences campus. Fortunately, according to the Campus Health survey data, the number of UA tobacco users decreases every year.

    The UA Health Network is offering free smoking treatment to employees and to their dependents. Patients can receive counseling and medications to control their nicotine cravings, and visitors to the hospitals who smoke will be offered free nicotine-replacement gum. Ultimately, this is a win-win situation. The fewer tobacco users, the fewer smoking-related deaths will occur. There is no negative aspects to hospitals, or any other place for that matter, banning the use of tobacco; it is, in fact, doing people a favor.

    There has been an outpouring of support for the hospital’s decision. “I’ve had no one come to me other than folks applauding us for the decision,” John Marques, chief human resources officer and vice president of the network, told the Arizona Daily Star. This tobacco-free environment may be a tough transition for patients, visitors and especially the workers. But there is hope for them, and this act will be a positive effect on their life in the long run. Hopefully, Sander will see that the ban of smoking on the UMC premises was a positive movement, and will allow the main UA grounds to follow this path to a cleaner, smoke-free campus.

    — Danielle Carpenter is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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