Smoking ban a positive step

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 7, 2005

The Demopolis Times editorial page

Smoking is bad for you. Everyone knows that. Unfortunately this knowledge is not always enough to persuade people to put their cigarettes down.

The fact is, most smokers would love nothing more than to put away their smokes forever but it is not that easy. Tobacco is habit forming and nicotine is addictive making it very difficult to walk away. Like any addiction, it takes help and support to break free.

When family and friends step in to help they are doing their duty as someone who cares and that is commendable. When an employer steps in, it means far more.

Last week Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital stepped up and implemented an all out ban of smoking on their premises. The ban makes is almost impossible to smoke and get back to work in a timely manner since there is really nowhere close by for smokers to go. This can lead to less usage of tobacco, which leads to less dependence. Before they know it, employees of the hospital may find they do not need nicotine at all.

The hospital has also gone the extra mile putting programs in place to help employees who want to quite smoking get a running start. The hospital has even offered to buy the first round of patches for their employees. That is the sign of an employer who cares.

The ban benefits more than just the employees. Patients will find it difficult to smoke as well. Since they are not allowed to smoke at the hospital and they are not allowed to leave, patients who have been admitted will learn to live tobacco free on their stay.

The banishment of smoking looks 100 percent positive on the surface and in the end it is. However, there is no doubt that it will be met with a certain amount or resistance. For the smokers who feel they are being singled out, please be patient. The smoking ban may present you with an inconvenience for now, but it will bring enormous benefits to you in the future. Twenty, 30 or 40 years from now when you have successfully kicked the habit and have the opportunity to play with your grandchildren or great grandchildren the inconveniences you face now will seem like small potatoes.

All over the nation people are moving for smoking bans in public places. It will likely be years before we see a widespread banishment of smoking. Luckily, for patients and employees of the hospital, they are ahead of the game.