Source: The News-Enterprise
ISSUE: New steps toward snuffing out smoking
OUR VIEW: HMH, Radcliff are on appropriate paths
The culture clash between smokers and non-smokers did not end when local governmental entities enacted ordinances creating smoke-free environments in public places, including restaurants, retailers and other businesses and industries.
The requirement to stand 15 feet away from entrances or airways is a means of respecting the health of neighbors and guarding against threats associated with second-hand smoke.
In the eyes of some, these rules also defined smokers as outcasts to be expelled from the premise to take part in an ugly, unhealthy habit.
In some cases, this inconvenience coupled with a higher cigarette tax and smoking cessation tools may have helped some smokers kick the habit. Others may be fortunate enough to avoid ever lighting up.
Even with an expressed concern of being defined as “Smoking Nazis,” Hardin Memorial Health is taking the next step in ridding its campus of tobacco products. For years, patients wearing hospital gowns could be seen walking the sidewalks outside the hospital pushing IV stands to get their fix. That is going to end.
Employing a requirement used by other medical centers, the hospital now requires patients who want to smoke to be discharged from the hospital — against medical advice — then check back in as a new patient all over again. It will be inconvenient and likely expensive for the patient if insurers balk at the readmission fees.
HMH’s policy encompasses all forms of tobacco, including snuff and chewing tobacco plus E-cigarette vapor products.
At the same time, Radcliff is considering enhancing municipal smoking policies to define public parks and playgrounds as smoke free. Despite standing in the wide-open outdoors, the policy under consideration by Radcliff City Council will define these public environments as places where cigarette butts and smoke clouds are unwelcomed.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States and Kentucky has the highest incidence of lung cancer. The surgeon general’s warnings have appeared on cigarette packages for generations. All that is well-documented. Steps need to be taken to attack the $100 billion annual health care expense linked to tobacco use.
HMH has taken an important next step to attack this blight on healthy living. Radcliff City Council is being asked to do the same.
While these efforts create any number of enforcement questions, the motives here are pure and appropriate.
Smoking is a choice, but it is one the community at large cannot afford and is no longer willing to accommodate.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.