Hospital's smoking policy has unintended consequences - WKRN News 2

Hospital's smoke free policy has unintended consequences, forces change

Posted: Updated: Oct 25, 2012 04:12 PM

A good policy has unintended consequences forcing a major hospital and the city to react.

Like other hospitals in Nashville, Centennial Medical Center has a smoke free campus.

Smoke free means that workers, patients and visitors had to go across the street to public property or Centennial Park to smoke.

With an increased number of smokers in the area near the hospital, it also meant much more litter, discarded cigarette butts and possible threats to the water system as butts went down storm drains.

A community activist sick of the situation documented the problem, complained loudly to anyone and everyone.

Following the complaints, changes were made to correct the littering problem.

"He said not only was this an eye sore and we were not doing anything to keep Nashville beautiful, but butts were litter going into storm drains," Kim Tiscione with Centennial Medical Center said.

On September 25, Centennial Medical Center placed eight ash cans around the campus and assigned crews to clean up the bins and surrounding streets twice a day.

Hospital worker Tyrone Green said since the changes, the areas near the facility looks much better and there are less cigarette butts on the ground.

"Our facilities folks report a 70% reduction in tobacco litter out here and we think that is significant," Tiscione said.

Public Works officials say Metro Park Police will increase patrols and possibly hand out citations.

Metro officials said the policy is a positive one that had unintended consequences, which other company's can learn from.

Because of the one concerned citizen, Centennial also offers educational programs for employees on the issues.

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