by Christa Lollis
In November no smoking signs went up and smokers were pushed to the curb. Memorial and Woodland Heights worked together to make the hospitals smoke free inside and out. Woodland Heights marketing director, Tara Watson says, "On a daily basis we as a hospital industry strive to make the hospital a better place and whether that is taking care of our patients or taking care of the guests that come to visit those patients we want to take care of the environment your in on a daily basis."
The transition has received some negative comments but most of the feedback has been good. "We have people talking to administration all the time saying thank you for putting this policy out there. We have employees who have quit who have said you know I wouldn't have quit otherwise," Yana Ogletree with Memorial Health Systems explains. Memorial even helped by providing free smoking cessation classes for their employees. But the Angelina Coalition doesn't want to stop with the hospitals. Board member Anne Temple said, "The coalition is basically starting in a little baby step infant stage right now and we are trying to bring awareness to the community about how hazardous smoking is for our children." They're hoping to work with the city to make parks smoke free, then move to businesses and maybe even the whole city.