URMC carves out ‘smoking outposts’
Two and a half years ago, backed by a litany of research pointing to the ill effects of second-hand smoke – the University of Rochester Medical Center joined with hundreds of hospitals nationwide in an effort to create smoke-free campuses.
Our goal was (and still is) to enable all of our staff, patients and visitors to access our facilities without having to cross a cloud of thick smoke. We established a “perimeter” and insisted that those who must smoke do so outside of that boundary; we also extended counseling and nicotine replacement therapy to patients, faculty and staff, hoping to help them transition to our new smoke-free environment.
For the most part, the policy has worked; we now seldom see smokers congregating immediately outside of our entrances, and many of our faculty, staff and patients have seized this opportunity to quit smoking altogether. Unfortunately, our progress has come at a price for the surrounding neighborhoods: staff and visitors smoke and litter on their lawns, sidewalks and streets, costing URMC more than $100,000 annually in clean up costs.
In order to achieve our smoke-free goals and preserve the valuable partnership we’ve worked so hard to forge with our neighbors, URMC has instituted a practical compromise, carving out two “smoking outposts” within its perimeter. Faculty, staff, visitors and outpatients can smoke in these areas as an alternative to crossing streets and smoking in the neighborhood. One such outpost is at Middle Lot Drive (between the Emergency Department and the School of Medicine entrance); a second, new sheltered location is located adjacent to the north side of the ramp garage. Together, these smoking outposts are the ONLY areas in which individuals are permitted to smoke inside our perimeter; if you see smokers at our entrances or on our sidewalks, please kindly direct them to one of these outposts or to a non-neighborhood area outside our perimeter.
To learn more about the Medical Center’s Smoke Free policy, you can access information (including a map of the perimeter) on URMC’s two Smoke Free Web sites, including our public site and our employee Intranet site. (Please note: This second link is only accessible if you are currently on a URMC server.)