May 9, 2003

New awareness campaign under way for designated smoking areas

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A 13-foot helium balloon will mark the Kids Say Thanks smoking area, located outside Medical Center North.

New awareness campaign under way for designated smoking areas

A 13-foot helium balloon will help guide smokers to a designated smoking area outside Medical Center North as part of a continuing effort to curb smoking around patient-affected areas.

The balloon is just part of some of the marketing initiatives planned by Ken Browning, director of Plant Services, and the smoking oversight committee, which will include new color maps, better signage and designated names for the smoking areas.

“Pirates Cove” will be the new name for the smoking area located directly across from the hospital in Medical Center East, and “Kids Say Thanks” will mark the spot for smokers who wish to go to Medical Center North.

“It is part of an ongoing campaign,” Browning said. “Last year we featured signs with children on them, asking smokers to go to the designated areas. This year we decided to name the areas and make it easier for visitors to find them.”

The balloon will begin flying in May on days that weather permits. It will be red and yellow, with the words “Kids Say Thanks” on the outside.

“It should make it easy for any of the visitors to find their way from the courtyard area to Medical Center North,” Browning said.

Colorful maps with arrows pointing the way to Pirates Cove and Kids Say Thanks will be handed out and posted in different areas.

These enhancements, along with smoke patroller James Fizer, will help remind visitors and staff not to smoke in areas that are often used by patients who can be affected by cigarette smoke.

Fizer, who works part-time, often walks around different areas outside the hospital to help guide people to the correct smoking areas.

“He initiates a conversation with them, finds out where they are from, and then gently tells them they need to move to our designated smoking area,” Browning said. “He’s a great people person.”