Valley General Hospital campus is a smoke free from January 2011. Valley General the last hospital in Snohomish County which prohibited smoking completely.
“If people want to smoke, they will have to go outside the campus”, stated Monica Sylte, hospital representative.
At present, the hospital prohibits smoking within 50 feet of hospital entrance; this is more limited than stipulated by the state law.
“Current smoking huts on the back side of the campus were pulled down as soon as the ban on smoking on hospital property takes effect,” Sylte stated.
Signs are placed both inside and at the entrances of the hospital, informing visitors and patients that they dont have the right to smoke on the property.
Swedish/Edmond was the first hospital in Snohomish County, to prohibit smoking on its property. The hospital introduced a completely ban in 2006.
“The majority of people seem to accept these restrictions,” stated Nancy Wood, chief nurse at Swedish/Edmonds.
The hospitals policy was implemented after the states voters accepted firm measures which took effect in 2005.
The state prohibits smoking within 25 feet of doors, windows and also in bars, cafes, restaurants, bowling and other establishments.
“Valley General was thinking for some time to take this step. But changes in chief executives delayed the whole process,” stated David Anderson, who conducts the hospitals smoke-free committee.
The hospitals off-campus drug and alcohol treatment center that may cure more than 36 patients will not be covered by this regulation.
“In present we are still analyzing all advantages and disadvantages of this regulation. We do not want that the given anti-smoking policy to become a barrier to people who are thinking to receive an adequate treatment at our center,” he added.
Anyone who will try to smoke on the hospital territory receive a reminder of the new regulation, Anderson stated.
“We dont want to make it something threatening. We will give a card to those people, who smoke. On this card they will find special created places where they can smoke,” he said.
Swedish/Edmonds did the same, when they introduced a complete ban on smoking on the territory of hospital campus.
“In Valley General work more than 500 employees. Till now, I havent heard from workers any complain or opposition related to this ban,” Sylte said.
Valley Hospital and Medical Center in Spokane was probably the first hospital in the state which made its campus smoke-free, tacking the action in 1991, according to the Washington State Hospital Association.