Smoking Prohibited for Nursing Home Staff


In the near future Nursing Home workers from Franklin County will not be permitted to smoke cigarettes on facility grounds because a new state law comes into action in less than two weeks, on October 29. The law prohibits smoking on the grounds of hospitals and health-care facilities within 15 feet of the entrance.

However, the new law does not prevent visitors and patients from smoking in designated zones as long as they are not within particular distances of the building or the entrance to the grounds.  Since ’90s the nursing home had a non-smoking policy but the staff was not mentioned in it.

County Manager Thomas Leitz asked State Department of Health to explain the details of the law, especially he was interested to know  if workers would be part of the new ban, but he was told that the final determination has not been made yet. Nursing Home Administrator Mary Palmer suggested that nursing home workers and hospital staff will be placed under the same rules.

Lawmakers asked the explanation of the new law since it states no smoking on the facility grounds. They were interested if smoking ban included the parking zone, for example, if a worker is allowed to smoke in his car.  Legislator Sue Robideau raised concerns about safety of workers because smoking ban makes them leave the grounds and go to smoke along a busy highway, especially in winter time.

Rob Haynes, engineer at the State Department of Transportation office in Malone, provided a 2010 statistics. It shows that every day almost 3,400 vehicles pass by the nursing home.  Workers get lunches and are not permitted to leave the nursing home grounds during their 8-hour working day. It means that they cannot go off grounds to smoke while on duty.

Legislator Marc “Tim” Lashomb said he  is opposed to smoking. In past he smoked but generally for people it is hard to quit, Smokers have their rights and normally their rigts should be respected. While waiting for clarification fro the state, lawmakers decided that Nursing Home workers will not be permitted to smoke on facility grounds or parking zones after October 29.

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