August 8, 2005--Posted at 3:30 p.m. CDT
Jonesboro, AR- More than 400,000 people die every year from smoking related incidents. Governor Huckabee is trying to get those numbers down.
On September 1st, St. Bernards,along with other hospitals in Northeast Arkansas, will implement a No Smoking policy.
The policy states that "any tobacco product is prohibited in or on the grounds of any medical facility in the state of Arkansas."
St. Bernards held a news conference Monday to state their purpose.
"We are not trying to get the employees to quit smoking, but we are telling them they can't smoke here. In return we will offer help to those who want to quit through counseling, therapy, and smoking cessation programs."
Kathryn Blackman explained, every hospital will have different ways of enforcing their program. At St. Bernards, there will be security guards and directors watching and waiting for those who do not abide.
"They have these little cards that say, 'Thanks for not smoking, it's the law.' This is an easy way to be non-confrontational but still let them know they can't smoke here anymore."
Employees are coping with the issue and realize there is nothing they can do to change it.
"Actually I plan to not smoke during work hours. It's significantly going to reduce the number of cigarettes I smoke a day. Hopefully I'll quit smoking."