MUSC is now tobacco-free

      (Alan Garmendia/WCIV)

      By Sonya

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- You won't see smokers near MUSC buildings anymore because the entire campus is now tobacco-free.

      The new policy, which is effective as of March 1, prohibits use of tobacco products at indoor or outdoor spaces at all locations on the campus. MUSC has put numerous signs up on the grounds to let people know about the change.

      Dr. Susan Johnson is the Wellness Coordinator at MUSC and feels that going tobacco-free is a step in the right direction.

      "Obviously as a healthcare facility and a medical university, we feel like it's really important for us to be leaders in a healthy lifestyle prevention," she said.

      Most people we spoke with are in favor of the new smoking ban.

      "I'm an asthmatic, so for me, it's just fantastic," said Lea Dales. "I can't breathe with cigarette smoke anyway, so just the fact that I don't have to be bothered by that or hold my breath as I walk by it is pretty huge."

      The bottom line is that MUSC wants to make their grounds as healthy as possible for everyone.

      "The whole purpose of the policy is not to tell people that they can't smoke, but just to create a positive healthy environment for people who are on our campus," Dr. Johnson said. "So for our employees and our students, we are providing a six month cessation program free of charge and free medications for them as well as classes and counseling."

      They also have options for patients or visitors, who may want to smoke to relieve stress.

      "While they are here, if they find it difficult for them to not smoke and maybe they can't leave, we are providing coupons for a free stick of Nicorette gum to sort of help them with that craving," Dr. Johnson said.