St. Charles Parish Hospital will ban smoking on campus

Beginning April 1, St. Charles Parish Hospital will ban smoking throughout the property.

“We care about our employees’ health and the impact to the health of the community,” St. Charles Parish Hospital CEO Federico Martinez Jr. said.

The ban specifically prohibits the use of “cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and all other tobacco-related products while on the hospital property.”

In addition to the ban, the hospital said it would institute a plan to help its employees quit smoking.

The announcement comes on the heels of what area civic and business leaders called a “bold” initiative by New Orleans to ban smoking in bars and casinos. The New Orleans City Council passed the measure with a unanimous vote, even after provisions excluding Harrah’s Casino were removed.

That ban will take effect on April 22.

St. Charles Parish Councilman  Jarvis Lewis said he has had conversations with members of the movement that pushed for the ban in New Orleans, but he doesn’t believe such an ordinance is necessary for St. Charles.

St. Charles Parish Hospital is in a management agreement with Ochsner Health System, which has implemented the smoking ban at its other locations throughout the region. Ochsner founder Dr. Alton Ochsner was one of the first people to find a link between tobacco use and lung cancer. Dr. Ochsner’s campaign at the time flew in the face of even the American Medical Association, which in 1964 opposed measures to put warning labels on cigarettes and referred to Ochsner’s viewpoints as “extreme.”

“Our mission calls for us to improve the health of the individuals and communities we serve,” Martinez said. “By prohibiting tobacco use at and around our facilities, we are not only living that legacy but also ensuring that our patients have the most healing, safe environment possible.”

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