Smoking is an issue that often stokes strong and opposing feelings among those that do smoke, and those that don’t. The debates swirl around topics like health, personal rights and freedom, the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. The UTMB campus—including outdoor areas—has had a “no smoking” policy since 1990; the policy was given additional teeth and revamped in 2005. One of the policy’s unintended effects has been to drive smokers to the boundaries of the campus to light up, and on the other side of one of those boundaries has been Shriners Burns Hospital.
That’s soon to end, though, as last month Shriners’ local Board of Governors voted unanimously that Shriners Galveston would become completely smoke free as of Sept. 1, 2007. That means no smoking anywhere on their hospital grounds, including areas frequented by those seeking refuge from UTMB’s policy. I can understand the decision, think it makes sense for a health institution. But for employees or patient family members who need to get away for a quick puff, this is likely to be unwelcome news.
If you smoke and you want to quit, UTMB’s “Commit to Quit” program is pretty remarkable; they’ve averaged a dramatic 30 percent overall success rate, far better than the 5 percent chance you stand on your own. If you’re interested, there’s information online.