It’s hard to find good smoke patrols. They’re expected to go up to people and explain that they’re violating our rules.
~Ken Browning, director of VUMC Plant Services
Don’t even think about lighting up on the Vanderbilt Medical Center campus. On Sept. 1, VUMC enacted a ban reflecting a strong statement that smoking, linked to the development of cancer, heart disease and stroke, has no place on a hospital campus.
The complete smoking ban is the latest in a series of increased restrictions on campus smoking that began in 1989 with a ban on indoor smoking. Designated outdoor smoking areas were established on campus in the 1990s, and enforcement has been stepped up in recent years.
But those designated spots disappeared Sept. 1. Faculty and staff who want to quit smoking are being offered a series of self-help and support resources to help them do so, and a hotline—615/936-QUIT—has been set up to help employees.
Vanderbilt now employs five “smoke patrollers” to guide faculty, staff, patients and visitors to the closest areas where they can smoke—the sidewalks along 21st Avenue or Blakemore Avenue, says Ken Browning, director of VUMC Plant Services. It’s not a job for everyone.
“It’s one thing to tell people to go to a covered area to smoke; it’s another to tell them to go to a public sidewalk,” Browning says. “It’s hard to find good smoke patrols. They’re expected to go up to people and explain that they’re violating our rules. Not everyone is cut out for that. It will take time to get people to understand that they have to go off campus.”
Browning estimates that about 99 percent of people approached about not smoking in a given area are accepting. “Most people will do what you ask, if they understand what you want them to do.”