Your mother told you, your doctor told you, the U.S. surgeon general has told you, and even your stewardess told you. If you didn't believe it then, believe it now.
Hospital personnel are telling you not to smoke - especially in their facilities.University Hospital will soon become the latest Utah hospital to implement a smoke-free policy. Beginning June 1, smoking will be prohibited throughout the hospital except by patients who have the permission of their physicians or primary care nurses.
Smoking will be permitted in a designated area of the hospital cafeteria only - except during lunchtime, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
"We are in the business of promoting health, not disease," said George Belsey, U. Hospital administrator. "As a leading health-care institution in the region, we have the obligation to protect our patients, employees and visitors from the harmful effects of smoking and to discourage smoking whenever possible."
The smoke-free policy wasn't instigated overnight.
According to Belsey, it's the result of nearly two years of study by hospital administration and staff.
"We have researched the issue carefully," he said. "We have been in touch with other major hospitals across the country to determine what they are doing. We have surveyed our employees to determine their attitudes toward smoking, and we have decided that going to a smoke-free environment is not only the right thing, but it is supported by the vast majority of our patients and employees."
Several other Utah hospitals have reached the same conclusion.
Smoke-free policies are in effect at Intermountain Health Care hospitals in American Fork, Mt. Pleasant, Richfield, Delta, Fillmore, St. George, Panguitch, Cedar City, Salt Lake City, Orem and Provo.
In fact, some personnel refer to the Utah Valley Hospital in Provo as a "smoke crave-free hospital."
As part of that hospital's smoke-free policy, implemented a year ago, the hospital will not employ anyone who smokes. Smokers already on the staff will not be terminated, but they can receive help through cessation classes to kick the habit, said hospital spokesman Clark Caras.
They may not have a choice. At the end of 1990, they will have no place to smoke. The one lounge in the hospital where people can now smoke will be closed. St. Benedict's and McKay-Dee hospitals have also announced that by the end of the year smoking will not be allowed within the buildings.
Smoking is now permitted only in restricted lounges at Cottonwood Medical Center, and LDS and Holy Cross hospitals, as well. Patients are encouraged not to smoke in the rooms; visitors cannot.
Administrators in these hospitals have the same theory as those at the U.
"We are not telling people that they can't smoke. We are only telling them that for the health, comfort and safety of those around them, they can't smoke in University Hospital," Belsey said.
In the meantime, the hospital is offering free smoking cessation classes to all employees who no longer can smoke even in their private offices.
Allowing smoking in private offices discriminates against smokers who do not have private offices and still puts smoke into the ventilation system, Belsey said.
"Public concern is growing about the harmful effects of smoking and second-hand smoke. University Hospital's new smoke-free policy is a logical response to that concern," he said.