Starting Monday, all 100 of the state's acute care hospitals will be tobacco free, so patients, visitors and staff will have to smoke elsewhere.
The initiative was spearheaded by N.C. Prevention Partners with a $600,000 grant from the Duke Endowment. Efforts began three years ago, and hospitals around the state have been phasing in the new smoke-free policy since then.
All the hospitals in the Triangle went smoke free last year at this time.
"North Carolina will pass a major health milestone next week," Meg Molloy, President and CEO of N.C .Prevention Partners, said in a preparted statement. "We are leading the nation in tobacco-free hospitals and, with these policies in place, millions of hospital patients, visitors and employees will be protected from exposure to harmful secondhand smoke. Hospitals are natural health leaders and are setting the pace for healthy communities in North Carolina. We are grateful to The Duke Endowment and NC Hospital Association for their unwavering support."
For more information about N.C. Prevention Partners, go to www.ncpreventionpartners.org.