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Docs aren't smoking in secret

A common sight since Rogue Valley Medical Center banned smoking on its property is employees smoking on the sidewalks in front and beside the hospital. They are a sad group, especially on cold, rainy days. Missing from this sad group of hospital staff, though, are doctors. My question is, since they aren't out on the street with the rest of the smokers, where do the doctors go to smoke while at the hospital? Do they have a special area in the hospital where they can smoke? Can they smoke in the doctors' lounge? Or do they have a special place they won't tell anyone about?

— Mark E., Medford

There are no secret smoking lounges anywhere on the hospital campus for anyone, Mark.

"Physicians comply with and support the tobacco-free campaign at Asante," says Joe Hannah, director of radiation oncology and respiratory therapy and chairman of the Asante Tobacco Free Committee.

If doctors are smoking somewhere in secret, they're doing a good job of keeping it secret, because no one on campus is getting a pass to light up. While sharp-eyed passers-by report spotting the occasional smoker inside a vehicle or lurking in the parking garage, that's technically forbidden, too.

Asante was one of the first health-care organizations in Oregon to adopt tobacco-free regulations at both Rogue Valley Medical Center and Three Rivers Community Hospital in Grants Pass, Hannah explained. Asante offers free tobacco cessation programs and support to employees as well as education and resources to patients, families and the rest of the community.

He said the goal ultimately is to work with the city of Medford to designate RVMC and the surrounding sidewalks and access areas as a tobacco-free zone.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.