Leslie Turk

Lourdes, affiliates ban smoking

by Leslie Turk

Following a growing national trend, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center and its joint venture partner campuses, Heart Hospital of Lafayette, Lourdes Imaging Network and Lourdes AfterHours, will be smoke-free beginning Aug. 4. Smoking will be prohibited on all property owned, leased or operated by Lourdes, including parking lots, sidewalks and all outdoor areas on campus. This policy applies to everyone, including employees, patients, volunteers, visitors, physicians, residents, students, emergency medical staff, agency staff, contract staff and vendors.

In announcing the new policy yesterday, Lourdes noted that 430,000 Americans die each year from smoking. In Louisiana, 6,400 annual deaths are caused from smoking related diseases. Additionally, about 1,000 Louisianans die each year from secondhand smoke, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

“Our mission calls us to create a spirit of healing for all those entrusted to our care,” says Bud Barrow, Lourdes' president and CEO. “Our Lady of Lourdes is a place of healing, and while we respect the rights of adults to smoke, we are also aware of its ill effects. Secondhand smoke exposure has taken the lives of far too many in our community. At Lourdes, we will all breathe a little easier.”