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St. Louis hospitals set to enact stricter smoking rules

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis – Starting September 1, more than 40 St. Louis area hospitals will enact new restrictions to ban or severely limit tobacco use on their campuses.

This summer, hospitals will install tobacco-free signs and promote smoking cessation among patients, employees and visitors.

It's part of a larger rule requiring all Missouri hospitals to enact tobacco restrictions by June 2007.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services director Julie Eckstein says the policy is meant in part to reduce secondhand smoke.

"I can do the best that I want to do for my own health, but it's your poor decision that ends up impacting me," Eckstein said. "So, I'm really hopeful that more and more Missourians will continue to understand the power of prevention."

Hospitals that don't comply with the new regulations next year could face penalties, including the loss of their license.