County's Rx for hospital employees: stop smoking

  • By Alex Parker
  • Staff Writer
  • April 10, 2009 @ 3:00 PM

Officials with the Cook County Health & Hospital System announced yesterday they are weighing a plan to eliminate designated smoking areas at facilities including Stroger Hospital, Oak Forest Hospital, Cermak Hospital and Provident Hospital.

The move, discussed at yesterday's board meeting, follows Chicago's ban on smoking in bars, and an increase on tobacco taxes. 

The idea is unappealing to some smokers, who say they see it as an attack on their rights. One of them is Sarah Ortiz, a cashier at Stroger.

"Where are they doing to kick us out to?" she says. "You're just taking smokers' rights away."

There is one incentive, she says.

"I guess I'd quit smoking. I can't walk that far to smoke."

Daily News Staff Writer Alex Parker covers public health. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 17, or alex [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.