The Medical University of South Carolina will be a tobacco-free campus beginning in March, when a policy announced this week takes effect.
The new rules say faculty, students and volunteers won't even be allowed to smoke in "personal vehicles parked on MUSC property" or have an "odor of tobacco products on their clothing or person."
Patients and visitors also must comply. Vendors who smoke on the job could have their contracts terminated.
"It is a part of our mission to prevent cancer and to lead by example in providing the healthiest environment possible for everyone on our campus,"
MUSC President Ray Greenberg told employees in an e-mail.
The policy is getting cheers from anti-tobacco groups.
"It's a wonderful thing they're joining other hospitals that are already smoke-free," said Louis Eubank, executive director of the South Carolina Tobacco Collaborative. "They've been a little behind everyone else, but we're glad they're on board now."
Not everyone is happy.
Marcus Brumbaugh smoked for more than 45 years before resolving to quit last year.
The MUSC employee, who works for the physical plant, uses e-cigarettes containing nicotine to help him kick the habit. But the new policy forbids them and other smokeless tobacco products in addition to cigarettes, cigars and pipes.
"How can you justify that?" he said, noting that the product he uses now contains only vegetable glycerin and flavoring. "I tried to stop many times with gum, patches, medication and even hypnosis, but nothing worked but the e-cigarette."
He outlined his gripes in an e-mail to Greenberg Thursday.
In a response, Greenberg told Brumbaugh he would study the matter.
"It will not become effective until March, so there should be ample opportunity to review it and refine it as needed between now and then," he wrote.
Employees who violate the policy will be reported to supervisors. Repeated violations could result in being reprimanded or fired.
The university will offer low-cost smoking-cessation programs during the transition.
The student government and Faculty Senate first recommended the proposal, which then was approved by the Board of Trustees.
Roper Hospital, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital and Trident Medical Center's facilities are among 50 hospitals in the state that already are tobacco-free, according to the South Carolina Tobacco Collaborative.
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