Some of Iowa’s top hospital executives say they’re disappointed the state legislature won’t pass a law banning smoking in public places. Jim Zahnd, a vice president for Iowa Health Systems, says 11 hospital campuses in Iowa are currently smoke-free.
On July 1st, five health care organizations in Des Moines and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will ban smoking on their campuses, too. “These are the things we are doing,” Zahnd says. “We would now turn to the legislature and say ‘would you do your part?'”
Donna Katen-Bahensky, C-E-O of University Hospitals and Clinics, says going smoke-free is about curbing exposure to second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke contains four-thousand chemicals, including nicotine and carbon monoxide according to Katen-Bahensky, and she says second-hand smoke is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.
In Iowa, more than five-hundred people will die this year from diseases caused by second-hand smoke. The two hospital executives also support an increase in the state tobacco tax as a means of making cigarettes and other tobacco products so expensive kids won’t take up the habit and adult smokers will quit.