Friday, November 18, 2005

Smoking Ban Challenges

One of the Iowa Hospital Associations goals for 2006: Smoke-free campuses. Enforcement" Check out this excerpt from the Daily Iowan:

Come rain, bitter wind, or a new UI Hospitals and Clinics policy - some smokers outside the hospital refuse to move inside designated shelters.

"What are they going to do, write a ticket?" said UIHC visitor Ricky Booher, taking a puff outside the emergency-room entrance. "Here, I'll light it up with my cigarette, and you can have it back."

The enforcement of the new ban - which prohibits smoking aside from five designated smoking areas on the UIHC grounds - has several hospital employees up in arms about the specifics and overall fairness of the policy.

But as long as smokers stand around the designated shelters, they were complying with the ban, said Ann Rice, the UIHC's associate director.

"There isn't a hard and fast rule at this point in time, because people are still getting used to the policy," she said.

But UI law Professor Marc Linder said he was dismayed by the laxity with which UIHC officials have enforced the ban, which went into effect Nov. 1.

Plagued by the "gauntlet of smoke" that encircles the hospital grounds, Linder said his repeated pleas to UIHC officials to better enforce the policy have gone unheard.

"This is the most important hospital in Iowa," he said. "Why doesn't the state and the university have the right, the power, the duty to protect its citizens?"


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