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SSM Health Care Smoking Ban Starts Today

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – While some smokers will put down their cigarettes for the day today (Thursday), one of the St. Louis area's largest health care systems is taking steps to encourage its workers and patients to "kick the habit" for good.

SSM Health Care is using the annual Great American Smokeout to institute a new policy at its 20 hospitals and three nursing homes.

The system is going tobacco-free inside AND outside all of its buildings.

"I always thought that it was inconsistent to observe patients, very often, as well as employees and visitors smoking outside of a door of a facility that labeled itself a health care facility, especially because smoking is the number one cause of preventable death," said Sister Mary Jean Ryan, the CEO of SSM.

Sr. Ryan says employees have known about SSM's plans for nine months but admits that not all of them are happy about the new policy regarding outdoor smoking.

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