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Allegiance Hospital takes smoke-free campus to new heights

No Smoking sign
Creative Commons
Staff at Allegiance Hospital will no longer be able to smoke on or off campus during shift,

At first glance, there's not much new about another hospital in Michigan going "smoke free" - more than 90% of Michigan hospitals can already claim that status. Here's how the Michigan Health and Hospital Association defines "smoke free":

"Smoke-free campus" – The term smoke-free environment is sometimes used indiscriminately to discuss both 100-percent smoke-free areas as well as segregated and ventilated areas. A truly smoke-free environment in a business is one in which no smoking is allowed within any company building. “Campus”– the grounds, including the buildings, of a hospital or health system

But Allegiance Hospital in Jackson, MI is taking the "smoke free" definition a little farther beginning on Saturday, Nov. 20.

Shannon Scholton is with Allegiance. He says "if you are a patient in the hospital, an in-patient, in the past we’ve allowed you to walk out to the sidewalk and smoke. We are ending that privilege for patients."

So, if you leave the building to go smoke, you'll have to be re-admitted to the hospital. It's unclear at this point whether the patient will be charged a readmittance fee.

As for the hospital staff?

"We are also asking our staff to refrain from smoking during their work shift, whether it’s on campus or going off-campus for lunch," says Scholton.

Scholton says no one on staff has quit...yet. But he admits that some staff are wrestling with the change. He says both patients and staff will be offered free counseling and resources to help them stop smoking at the hospital.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.