As a 20-year resident of Halsey Street and a graduate of MUSC, I feel sad that MUSC and Roper Hospital have elected to turn Cannon Park and its adjacent streets into an ashtray for their employees and contractors who smoke.
While I applaud the decision to become smoke-free facilities, this decision should not come at such a high cost to their residential neighbors.
I have stopped walking my dog through the park during the day because of the volume of hospital employees generating a cloud of smoke that acts like a barricade to the park.
In the past six months, the smoke, combined with countless cigarette butt, has ruined the atmosphere of our small, beautiful green space.
MUSC and Roper need to pause and evaluate the consequences of their actions and consider alternative smoking sites, such as the top floors of parking garages on their premises. Any Roper or MUSC employee who does not smoke would be embarrassed to walk through Cannon Park at lunchtime and would advocate that the hospitals do the right thing.
We live on Halsey Street, across from MUSC. We run a small bed-no-breakfast, and our business has been severely and negatively impacted by the ruling which has turned our block and Cannon Park into a polluted smoking lounge for the hospital staffs of Roper and MUSC. One guest even saw a group of people sitting on a bench near the Ronald McDonald House, smoking, and commented about how it seemed that Charleston has a “large homeless population.”
My husband and I were accustomed to going around our property and picking up at least six to 10 cigarette butts a day, trying to keep our place looking clean and nice. Now it is four to five times that many.
Canon Park is also being adversely impacted, with hundreds of cigarette butts littering the ground. The park has a little playground for children, where I would take my grandchildren, and with the new landscaping, the city has been attempting to make it more beautiful and people friendly. Now it is a disaster zone. It is disgusting to see all those cigarette butts everywhere.
We had a lovely neighborhood that has been trashed by hospital smokers.
The hospital staff ought to be setting an example for others — not only in their personal health habits, but how they deal with the environment. They seem to be failing miserably. To see these people who are supposedly there to deal with the health issues of others, smoking away and littering our neighborhood reflects badly upon the hospitals as institutions dedicated to health and well being.
We do applaud MUSC and Roper for their efforts to remove a health risk for their patients, but we are angry about the health risks these hospitals have placed upon our neighborhood and our families. We are disappointed with the lack of consideration and respect these institutions and their employees have for our neighborhood.
We are upset that our City Council has backed this policy. The no-smoking zone requires re-evaluation and immediate amendment by MUSC and Roper.
Ayal and Hawk Hurst