MOORE COUNTY, N.C. — You are probably used to seeing designated smoking areas at hospitals, but what about no smoking at all -- even outside? One area hospital will soon become the first in the state to go totally smoke-free.
On July 4,
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital
and all FirstHealth properties kick the habit.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Lachina says having smoking areas on hospital property sends a mixed message.
"We felt like with our current policy of allowing smoking in designated areas, we're really ignoring our responsibility to the community, Lachina said.
Hospital employee Chuck Moak smoked for 45 years. He says the no smoking rule made him kick the habit.
"I decided to get ahead of the game so I wouldn't have to go through the crash course," he said.
FirstHealth will offer free smoking-cessation programs to anyone who wants to quit.
Employees and hospital guests can also help themselves to medications to curb cravings. The hospital offers free nicotine replacement therapy patches and lozenges.
FirstHealth admits it will take time for people to adjust to the policy. Anyone caught smoking on the property will be told to put it out, but there will not be any penalties or fines.
The hospital says it is all in an attempt to make the air clearer and cleaner for everyone.