HUNTSVILLE Ala (WAAY) - February 1st Huntsville Hospital goes smoke free.
No one is allowed to smoke on the property, and employees cannot smoke during their shift.
"We have had a no smoking policy within the facility for many years, but we determined it was time to take that initiative to our whole campus," Huntsville Hospital Marketing Vice President, Burr Ingram said.
Nearby businesses like Hartman’s Service Repair and Fuel know the decision could mean more smokers outside their shop.
“I’ve known its coming, and I asked my husband about it, and he said its another form of discrimination,” Owner Sherl Hirsheller said.
She said that discussion caused them to decide their policy on smoking.
“If they want to come over here and smoke they are welcome," Hirsheller said.
She asked that all smokers stay near the covered area beside their store and clean up after themselves. One hospital employee said he already takes advantage of their offer.
“Its very nice of them they don’t have to do that but I appreciate them doing it,” said an anonymous employee.
He said he has mixed feeling on the new smoking policy that will result in higher insurance costs for hospital smokers.
“I see both sides. I know what smoking can do to people. I also know it’s a matter or choice and its addictive. The difference is making that decision is now going to cost me more,” the employee said.
The Hospital is offering incentives for employees who choose to quit smoking.
"They have the opportunity to have a patch. It obviously includes coaching and also to go through what I think is an eight week course," Ingram said.