May 25, 2001

Smokers urged to use areas

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Smokers urged to use areas

If you have to smoke, please use the designated areas. That’s the emphasis of the newly approved smoking policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Smoking is not permitted in any VUMC building, including outside stairs, plazas, loading docks, parking areas, and general campus.

The designated smoking areas are located at these locations: seated smoking area, second floor Medical Center East; covered porch south of D-2100 MCN; ground level at the northeast end of A-0200 MCN; ground level at the east side of Oxford House; covered bench area at the north end of TVC; and in the covered parking at CCC-2300 MCN.

The policy applies to the entire Medical Center campus including Vanderbilt University Hospital; The Vanderbilt Clinic; Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital; School of Medicine; and School of Nursing.

“We are trying to launch a campaign to appeal to our customers to follow our policy,” said Charlotte B. Rogers, hospital administrator. “We have patients who have to breathe the air outside. Our cystic fibrosis patients and the ones on oxygen can’t go outside because people are smoking in undesignated areas.”

Patients are prohibited from smoking in any Medical Center building and must also use the designated areas. Exceptions to this policy can be granted only if the physician determines that abstinence from smoking would be detrimental to the management of that patient’s illness.

All faculty and staff members have a responsibility to inform anyone of the smoking policy and the designated smoking areas. Employees who violate the policy will be subject to performance improvement counseling.

Supervisors are responsible for enforcing the policy in their areas. Supervisors or staff who observe staff or visitors smoking in areas other than designated smoking areas are advised to inform the persons of the restriction on use of tobacco products and direct them to an appropriate smoking area. If a staff member refuses to stop smoking in a non-designated area, the supervisor should be notified for appropriate disciplinary action, according to the policy.

“Staff members not smoking in the designated areas is probably our biggest problem,” said Ken Browning, director of Plant Services, who helped write the current smoking policy.

Visitors, vendors and contractors must also comply with the policy. Smoking in undesignated areas could result in the loss of their business or visiting privileges.

Visitors create a specific challenge to the smoking policy. Since VUMC’s population turns over every five days (the average length of stay in the hospital), a new group of people visit the campus and must learn the smoking rules, according to Browning.

Vanderbilt has created a VTS position to help educate people about the policy. The “smoke patrol” walks the campus, reminding people of the designated areas.

“As an institution, Vanderbilt has made huge progress,” Browning said. “Going from a place where people once smoked in their offices to a place with limited designated smoking areas outside is remarkable.”