Starting this summer, The Memorial Hospital, along with its satellite facilities, will be completely discount cigarette online free.

At its regular meeting Thursday, the hospital board unanimously approved the final draft of a plan to prohibit smoking cigarettes and any other kind of cigarettes use on TMH grounds.

Hospital officials are planning to put the new policy in place July 1.

Smoking is already prohibited within a short distance outside a hospital, said Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence.

However, hospital officials are looking to extend the ban, which means smokers — whether they are visitors, patients, staff or physicians — will have to leave TMH property to smoke.

The same rule would apply to the TMH Medical Clinic at 785 Russell St., and TMH Rehabilitation Center inside Centennial Mall.

TMH is by no means the first hospital to adopt this kind of policy.

“To be very honest, we’re way behind” other hospitals that have already become cigarettes store free, Chief Nursing Officer Lorraine Reinhardt said.

Tinneal Gerber, newly elected board secretary/treasurer, asked how TMH staff has reacted to the upcoming policy change.

“The staff is OK,” Reinhardt said. “They know that it’s been coming.”

Gerber expressed support for the new policy before casting her vote.

“You can’t smoke cigarettes in the bar anymore,” she said. “Why should we allow you to in the hospital?”

However, Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich cautioned board members to be prepared for “that encounter in the grocery store” with residents who may be upset with the change.

Ultimately, he said, the decision to go tobacco free goes back to the hospital’s mission as a health care facility.

“This is in the best interest of people’s health,” Rohrich said. “It’s as simple as that.”

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