ST. LOUIS, Feb 05, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- SSM Health Care, a four-state hospital system based in St. Louis, plans the bold step of banning smoking inside and outside all of its medical facilities.
Those include 20 hospitals, three nursing homes and medical office buildings in Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois and Oklahoma. Plans call for the ban to go into effect Nov. 18 -- the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout date -- the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Hospitals usually ban smoking inside their buildings but a campus-wide prohibition is rare, according to Pat Lindsay, director of the Tobacco Prevention Center at St. Louis University. She said she could not recall another large area employer that has a complete ban in place.
Sister Mary Jean Ryan, SSM president and chief executive, said she instigated the smoking ban as a matter of integrity to protect the health of employees, visitors and patients. Ryan quit a four-year smoking habit decades ago on the day she entered the convent.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.