Tobacco Free Lincoln Hospitals

Come 2008, all of Lincoln's hospitals will be tobacco free.

The change was announced this morning by officials from all area Lincoln hospitals.

Currently, employees and visitors can smoke in designated areas outside, but that's about to change.

Currently, there's no smoking allowed inside hospital buildings…

But soon those designated areas outside for employees and hospital visitors, will be going away.

The change will affect more than 7-thousand employees at more than 40 locations in Lincoln.

Hospital officials estimate 12-15 percent of them are smokers.

But they say this is about public health, and cleaner air for everyone.

All 3 hospital systems are going tobacco-free at the beginning of next year.

They're all offering assistance and resources to help employees kick the habit, before then.

But officials say, they're anticipating some problems, when the public adjusts to the change.

Hospital officials say they've been working on “going tobacco free” in Lincoln for the last 3 years.

Statewide, about 30 percent of all hospitals have a similar policy.

But officials with the Nebraska hospital association tell us, half of those, who aren't completely tobacco free, plan to move that way, within the next year.