Before this week, employees at the Indiana University Health medical center were free to step off the nonsmoking campus and light up a cigarette. Sure, co-workers and patients would probably notice the telltale odor on the smoker's clothes, skin and breath -- especially if they happened to share an elevator -- but they could do little more than plug their nose in defense.
That all changed on Monday when the medical center upgraded its policy: Employees are now prohibited from smoking during the workday. Period.
The impetus for the new rule is the recently recognized dangers of "thirdhand smoke," the gases and particles that cling to clothing, hair, furniture, walls and other surfaces long after a cigarette is stubbed out.
Dr. Richard Graffis, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Indiana University Health, describes it as "the smoke you don't see, but that your nose tells you is there. (Read more...)