Ranson hospital to go smoke-free

RANSON – With smoking banned at the hospital Martinsburg as part of the Berkeley County Clean Air Ordinance that took effect Tuesday, officials say the facility in Ranson will follow suit later this summer.

“The thought is that Jefferson Medical Center will adopt the same tobacco-free campus policy as Berkeley Medical Center in August or September,” said Teresa McCabe, spokeswoman for University Healthcare, which owns the two facilities.

For employees and visitors to the Ranson hospital, the change in policy will mean no more smoking at the parking lot gazebo or in cars parked on hospital property or even the sidewalks outside the facility, McCabe said.

“We know that as health care facilities, this is the right thing to do,” McCabe said. “The health and safety of our employees, medical staff, patients, students and visitors is our primary concern.”

University Healthcare is offering employees resources for giving up tobacco, she said.

Dana DeJarnett, health promotion specialist at The Wellness Center at Berkeley Medical Center, said the new smoking rules apply not only to cigarettes, but to cigars, pipe tobacco, e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

Workers, volunteers, students, patients, visitors, vendors, contractors and anyone else on the company’s property “are expected to comply with this policy,” DeJarnett said.

“University Healthcare is committed to the health of our community,” she said. “Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in our society. We appreciate your support and cooperation with our policy for totally tobacco free campuses.”

University Healthcare will offer the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart Smoking Cessation classes at the hospital starting July 22.

The four-session classes, free and open to the public, continue through Sept. 18. Anyone can get more information by calling 264-1287, ext. 31814 or e-mailing ddejarnett@wvuhealthcare.com.

West Virginia offers a Tobacco Quitline at 877-966-8784. DeJarnett also points to ynotquit.com, which provides educational materials, coaching by phone and nicotine replacement therapy.

Anyone interested in kicking the habit will find tips from the American Lung Association (ffsonline.org), the American Cancer Society (cancer.org) and National Cancer Institute (smokefree.gov).

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One Response to Ranson hospital to go smoke-free

  1. I support business’ rights to choose employees however they want. If we really want to curb smoking in the US then we should let the free market do it naturally as we see in this instance. But equally a business has the right to not hire you for any other reason. Compelling a business to hire anyone but their most desired applicant, is against the founding principals of this nation. Likewise the government should not be allowed to compel employers to hire certain demographics….that is basically saying that one group of people deserves special rights over the others, and makes choosing not hiring someone because they fit a demographic appear more heavy-handed than it really is. That what is happening here.

    When you are forced to hire under-qualified minorities to avoid being sued for not having a diverse enough work-place and then you discriminate against smokers, then the government gains the power to pick and choose which groups are bad and which are good. In reality you have this right to pick and choose as you please….and if not for the government’s interference the market would regulate it naturally. If you refuse to higher qualified minorities, the majority of this nation would refuse to patronize your business as most will not tolerate racism in hiring….But when the government starts interfering you have to answer questions such as why smokers rights to smoke at home aren’t protected but my right to wear a religious garb on my head at the workplace is. Government interference no longer places the burden of responsibility on the employer, but puts the focus (and thus the power) on the government.

    Unless we repeal the government “protected” classes and the absurd power it grants those claiming membership in these classes; the public will continue to look to the government to regulate all hiring decisions that have the slightest hint of subjective reasoning in them….something that every business should have the right and the responsibility to decide for themselves. The market would regulate with the outpouring of negative public opinion upon those who do no decide fairly and rationally, especially in this, the information age.

    But liberals don;t think more than one step into the future…repercussions of government policies might as well be fairy tales to them. And with media proclaiming that if you don’t hire a cloaked Muslim women to work at hooters then you are racist, the public will actually begin to believe you are violating some magical government granted right when you do so…unlike the true constitutional and god-given right the business has to do as they please with their own property/money/time and efforts. And smokers in this articles case, will feel there is a double-standard and unfairly persecuted, instead of seeing it as a business’s god-given right to hire employees as they please, and spend the time and money training only those who they truly want in their own property, their business.

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