At its Feb. 15 meeting, the Del Norte Healthcare District, on a unanimous vote, decided to proceed with a non-smoking campus at the Del Norte Community Wellness Center.
The decision followed complaints from providers, clients, visitors and employees of the agencies that occupy the Wellness Center campus. Complaints centered on the secondhand smoke drifting into the building, small fires created when cigarettes were not put out appropriately, clients with respiratory and other diseases being subjected to secondhand smoke and that the Wellness Center should be an example of healthy lifestyle choices.
In December 2010, after receiving a petition signed by a large majority of employees working at the Wellness Center, I was appointed to further investigate the appropriate steps needed to create a non-smoking campus at the Wellness Center.
Discussions with Eugene Suksi at Sutter Coast Hospital, Herrmann
Spetzler, CEO of the Open Door Health Network, and Hilda Contreras of
the Del Norte Community Health Center ensued. Staff members at the Del
Norte Community Health Center who smoke were asked the question: What do
you think of a smoking ban on campus? Her are some of the comments I
received during the process:
andbull; For it. I'm trying to quit smoking, and this would give me
andbull; I think it's BS. What will they take from us next?
andbull; If I eat an extra cookie, why is it your concern?
andbull; Your extra cookie does not drift my way!
andbull; Who is going to police it? How are you going to stop patients from
smoking? And if you can't stop patients from smoking around the
building, how fair is that if employees cannot smoke?
andbull; I know they tried banning it at Sutter Coast, and they have not
been able to enforce patients not smoking outside of the buildings.
andbull; The ban has not been difficult to enforce; yes, people are still
smoking but not where others are affected.
andbull; I understand there is a large pile of cigarette butts near the edge
of the campus.
andbull; Visitors have been very cooperative; they understand why the
hospital has a non-smoking policy.
Here are the reasons I voted to proceed with the non-smoking campus:
andbull; The Healthcare District must, above all, promote healthy lifestyle
andbull; The Building Healthy Communities effort currently under way in Del
Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands has chosen prevention as the most
effective strategy to achieve improved community and personal health.
andbull; With the development of the temporary community garden, children's
playground and exercise stations and paths where clinic consumers will
be complying with their doctors' orders, it is imperative that those
areas be smoke free.
andbull; Many of the folks using the Del Norte Community Health Center
cannot tolerate or be subjected to secondhand smoke.
andbull; I do not support taking anything away from a consenting adult;
there are many activities that consenting adults engage in that are not
healthy; we do not, however, have the right to force others to engage in
Smoking cigarettes is a legal activity; programs and assistance for
smoking cessation are available to those who would like to quit.
I ask for your support for the Community Wellness Center Campus
smoking ban. It will take all of us to make it happen. This is how we
build healthy communities!
Clarke Moore is director of the Del Norte Healthcare District.