by Diane Tuazon
MIDLAND/ODESSA - Think twice about lighting up that cigarette especially if you're anywhere near a hospital in Midland or Odessa.
"The 3 hospitals came together to create a tobacco free policy at the same time because they feel that as hospitals, setting the tone makes sense in our community," Jacqui Gore with Odessa Regional Medical Center, said..
Gore says it's important to make the comunity aware of how harmful tobacco products are, and that starting today all three area hospitals will no longer tolerate it on their property.
"ORMC, MMH, and MCH now have a tobacco free policy on their property. That includes cigarrettes, pipes, and smokless tobacco," Gore said.
The American Cancer Society honored both Midland and Odessa hospitals for it's dedication on helping make the community tobacco free.
"This is a rare event to have 3 major medical centers to come together to be smoke free. Not only provides smoke free areas to patients and workers, but set stage for community in preventing diseases," Jay Woodsman with the American Cancer Society, said.
No tobacco anywhere, inside or around the hospitals, and lighting up in the parking lot isn't allowed either.
It may not be a popular move with some right now, but supporters believe that will change over time.
"For a hospital this takes a lot of strength, but in time the community will come to appreciate being able to breath easily in a hospital," Woodsman said.
Hospital officials hope by setting the tone at their campuses, they are setting an example and promoting healthier lifestyles.
"Tobacco causes 1 in 5 deaths in U.S. It's the most preventable cause of death, so anything that can take a leadership so kids don't start and others can stop if they choose," Woodsman said.