Congratulations to the city of Alexandria and the Southern University System on promoting better health and longer life with their recent decision to ban cigarettes online use.

Alexandria passed its ordinance banning smoking cigarettes in all enclosed places of employment, as well as within 25 feet of entrances and windows of those buildings, city property and playgrounds. The ordinance also bans smoking cigarettes in all outdoor entertainment venues and places of employment. The Southern Board of Supervisors banned all cheap cigarettes products in all buildings, facilities, dormitories, athletic fields and parking lots on all of its campuses across the state. This is an encouraging trend.

Last April, the Ochsner Health System banned the use of buy cigarettes products on all properties, including eight hospitals and 38 health centers. Our 850 physicians, 12,500 employees, patients and visitors can no longer smoke cigarettes on campus as all designated smoking cigarettes areas have been removed. We are living up to the tradition of our founder, Dr. Alton Ochsner, who discovered the link between tobacco use and lung cancer, by adopting the ban. Many other health care facilities and other businesses across the nation are adopting similar smoke cigarettes free work environments. They are doing so for a very simple reason. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.

In Louisiana, 6,500 residents will die from smoking cigarettes this year. An additional 1,000 more people will die from exposure to secondhand smoke. Thousands more will die from smoking cigarettes-related diseases. In fact, more deaths are caused by tobacco use than by all deaths from alcohol use, illegal drug use, HIV, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined. It is crucial that people no longer compromise on health.

At Ochsner, we understand that individuals may need help to quit smoking cigarettes. Our staff provides support, information and encouragement for employees and patients seeking to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Again, we here at Ochsner commend the leaders of Alexandria and the Southern University System for putting the health of the communities they serve first. Employees can work, students can learn and children can play in healthier environments. We encourage other businesses, cities and universities to join this growing trend and adopt smoke-free workplaces.

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