Northern Inyo Hospital to go tobacco-free

nih4-18– Press release

As of Thursday, Nov. 20th, Northern Inyo Hospital will be tobacco-free. The move coincides with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, which falls on the same date.

This means that patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors, vendors and employees may no longer smoke or use tobacco on any NIH property. The new tobacco-free policy applies to indoor and outdoor areas, as well as parking lots and all cars parked in the lots.

The change was approved unanimously by the hospital’s Board of Directors in September. This policy change will help NIH meet its goal of improving the health and well-being of the people of Bishop and the surrounding communities.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Victoria Alexander-Lane, NIH’s Chief Executive Officer. “As a hospital it is important that we educate and model healthy behaviors. Smoking remains one of the most preventable causes of death in the world. We must put our patients and their families first, and do everything we can to provide a healthy, tobacco-free environment.”

Alexander-Lane said the hospital definitely faces new challenges with this new policy. “But in the long run, this positive change will benefit everyone who comes to Northern Inyo Hospital,” she said.

The policy covers the hospital’s main campus at 150 Pioneer Lane and all NIH buildings including:

  • Bishop Women’s Health Center
  • Rural Health Clinic
  • Northern Inyo Eye Center (Dr. Thomas Reid’s Office)
  • Pioneer Medical Building
  • Birch Street Business Annex

Items included under the tobacco-free policy are cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes and tobacco alternatives, such as clove cigarettes.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, smoking results in nearly 1 in 5 deaths; which equals about 480,000 early deaths each year. Smoking increases risk for a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. However, health experts say once someone stops smoking, regardless of how long or how much they smoked, these risks start to drop. For example, within the first month, the former smoker’s sense of smell and taste improves; within the first six months, their lung function improves; and within a year, their risk of heart disease is cut in half.

Help is available for those who want to quit smoking. The Inyo County Health & Human Services’ Wellness Center offers guidance to help people stop smoking. Contact Lisa at the Wellness Center, (760) 873-8039, for details, or call 1-800-NO-BUTTS, a 24-hour helpline funded by the California Department of Health. Translators are available.



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33 Responses to Northern Inyo Hospital to go tobacco-free

  1. AK November 14, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Really! I am a non smoker, but give me a break. I know smoking is not healthy, and the hospital wants to set a good example, but they are treating cigarettes like they are an illegal drug. I can understand all of this except for the fact that you can’t smoke in your own vehicle? What? Is this America? How is someone that smokes two packs a day supposed to quit cold turkey? No cigarette all day unless you leave the property? WOW!! I feel sorry for any employee of N.I.H. and visitors that have a nicotine addiction. What’s next, no carbonated beverages?

  2. Trouble November 14, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

    I can understand inside, but outside is just wrong. Smokers will walk away from needed help over a smoke. I know, I smoked for 30 years .

  3. LocalT November 14, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    I think this is completely reasonable. It’s a hospital, not a local bar. Smoking has no place in or around hospitals. People shouldn’t be allowed to smoke on the premises. A complete ban is most effective as I see distance regulations violated on a daily basis (no smoking within 20ft of entrance, etc.). I can’t believe there are people who still defend smokers or resist these types of bans. If the never ending list of deadly health effects won’t scare you away from smoking maybe enough inconvenience will.

    This type of action shows that NIH is truly committed to providing the healthiest possible hospital experience.

    Nicotine patches are an alternative for employees or patients who can’t survive without smoking.

    • Trouble November 15, 2014 at 12:32 am #

      LocalT- you ought push the hospital to get a heart surgeon instead. All Bishop does is fly the critically ill to Reno anyway. Who cares if someone is outside smoking a cigarette? Get over it.

      • LocalT November 15, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

        NIH does the best they can with the limited resources available to them. Professional recruitment is extremely challenging in such a unique setting. Also, NIH serves a relatively small population compared to most hospitals. Comparing a smoking ban to the absence of a heart surgeon in terms of hospital care is erroneous.

        Who cares is smoking is banned on the entire NIH property? Get over it.

        • Trouble November 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

          “Limited resources”. They just got a state of the art hospital built for them. The administrators need to get specialist here now and stop trying to look tuff in the local throw aways.

          • Desert Tortoise November 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

            Most doctors, like most other highly trained professionals, want to work someplace with all the amenities. Be honest. Out here we just don’t have them. If you want to buy fine furniture, high end clothing (Hugo Boss or Armani suits for example), luxury cars, etc, or high quality ethnic foods you have to go to a big city. There are no Nordstroms or Ikea on this side of the Sierra Nevada. Ditto sports events, concerts, plays, fine dining etc. Moving here you accept limited shopping and entertainment opportunities and having to travel hours a few times a year for things that people in big cities can access any time they desire. For most professionals, there is the expectation that all those years of deprivation to achieve that advanced degree will lead to a future of abundance and not one of limited access to the finer things in life in some isolated town.

    • Trouble November 15, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      LocalT- your comment “can’t believe people still defend smokers” makes my head spin in total disbelief. It’s not a crime to smoke. I know the media and insurance folks are yapping up a storm just like these hospital folks and you. But some people are going to smoke,, like it or not and since it’s legal you ought to respect other peoples freedoms.

      • LocalT November 15, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

        It’s all about context here. We are talking about a smoking ban on hospital property. NIH is not saying smokers can’t smoke. They are sim[ply saying smokers cannot smoke on their property. It’s similar to the old “No shirt, No Shoes, No Service” policies. You have the right to

        I stand by my comment that I can’t believe people still defend smokers in terms of smoking bans. Why should the public be subject to 2nd hand smoke at a hospital? I can think of better places to allow outdoor smoking.

        If people want to smoke their life away that’s their choice. Just don’t do it on hospital property. And if you feel sorry for smokers and their rights, don’t feel sorry for them now. Feel sorry for them when they’re diagnosed with terminal cancer. If you’re compassionate for smokers, how about helping them stop smoking?

        • Trouble November 15, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

          LocalT- It would be a dark day before I lectured out anyone for doing something I did for thirty years. I’m glad I’ve stopped, but hate hypocrites. Degrading people with addictions and even making them criminals for their actions is not going to help them in any way. Just make their life worse. i love when a 300 pound ex-smoker tells a person how to be healthy.

          • LocalT November 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm #


            Degrading people with addiction? How are smokers being degraded here? I’m not a smoker but I have immediate family members who smoke. While I have compassion for them as family members, I do not condone their destructive behavior and I make every effort to help them quit. We all have destructive behaviors. It doesn’t mean everybody else has to put up with such behavior nor condone it.

            I also have no idea what the 300 pound ex-smoker hypocrite comment is referring to.

            Is it possible people are over thinking this issue? We are talking about banning one of the most unhealthy habits in todays society (very similar to alcohol and drug abuse). How is a reputable hospital supposed to promote health advocacy if it condones such a detrimental habit? As far as a hospital is concerned, this ban is completely justified.

            Restricting rights of smokers elsewhere is a different story.

          • Trouble November 19, 2014 at 7:07 am #

            LocalT- In my honest opinion as a ex-smoker your comments and defined type of help are doing more harm than good to people trying to stop. Being a jerk and making it harder to light up just pushes a smoker futher away from you . P.S. I hope your friends and family stop.

          • LocalT November 19, 2014 at 11:33 am #


            Being a jerk? You have me scratching my head.

            Check out the most recent Sierra Wave story on the NIH smoking ban. Long before the ban, NIH helped smoker employees begin the process of quitting by assisting them in finding help and NIH even covered necessary expenses.

        • Trouble November 17, 2014 at 8:13 am #

          LocalT – I know I have a twisted way of looking at things, but this one hits home to me. It’s like their banning all smokers from even wanting to go to the hospital. I remember when my dad and doctor smoke in the hospital while my mom was giving birth. I don’t think people should be stuck indoors with smokers, but if the smoker is outside on the side of a building he really is not hurting anything. I used to smoke and still think about it. I really would have either stayed away altogether or got the hell out of there if they had that ban in effect.
          This hospital really needs specialist ,because they really are just transporting most of the urgent care patients. I’m sorry if I offended you. i get way carried away a lot!

          • LocalT November 17, 2014 at 7:52 pm #


            You are mistaken about smokers outside not hurting anyone. See Sugarmagnolia’s comment below.That is a perfect example of how detrimental and inconvenient smokers can be to others in a healthcare setting.

          • Desert Tortoise November 18, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

            I can smell the smoke from someone smoking in the car in front of me. It’s an awful smell.

          • Trouble November 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

            That’s overkill. You act like their traped in a burning building. May be they should ban camp fires at the girl scout camps? Better yet ban campfires and fire places. What’s next?

          • LocalT November 18, 2014 at 9:48 pm #


            Your arguments are quickly losing credibility. Your square mile comment and now this erroneous argument have me questioning your ability to create logical arguments. Try to keep it at least in the same ballpark.

            Referencing a more recent Sierra Wave publication, do campfires “result in nearly 1 in 5 deaths” and “increases risk for a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease?”

          • Trouble November 19, 2014 at 8:09 am #

            DT- I still like the smell of as you call it ” second hand smoke” . God I miss it!

  4. Clyde Av November 15, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    Only in Bishop. Most hospitals in this state went smoke free 10 years ago. Using the constitutional rights as an argument to continue a habit which does affect other people come on. So the smokers will have to walk out to Line st and walk on the sidewalk to puff their smoke. I smoked for 14 years while serving in the military. I was lucky to quit and remain smoke free. Walking into a cloud of someone else’s habit sucks! Keep it away from buildings and off hospital grounds. I will stay away from you! Live and let live!

  5. sugarmagnolia November 16, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    seems to me e-cigarettes could be a solution here.

    My dad lives in a nursing home, the only time he gets sunshine or fresh air is when my mom wheels him outside. She is a non-smoker who had COPD from second hand smoke exposure.
    Every single sitting area outside at my dad’s facility is a smoking area! She cannot escape the smoke because they allow the patients to go outside and smoke. (the employees too).

    That is just not OK. I know, people have the right to smoke. I don’t argue against that. But they don’t have the right to smoke where others are trying to breathe clean air. For patients or people who need to smoke while at the hospital, I suggest an e-cigarette smoking area (just one, away from normal traffic areas). The vapor from the e-cigarettes are not irritating. ie. I’m an asthmatic and if I accidentaly breathe in someone’s cigarrette smoke I start to wheeze and need an inhaler. But not so with the e-cig vapor, it doesn’t bother my lungs at all.

    e-cigs may not be a wonderful product, but they do serve a purpose and should be recognized for that.

  6. Trouble November 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    All these second hand smoke arguments are close to baloney when you look at all the outdoor area at Bishops hospital. It’s got to sit on close to a square mile. Give the smokers a picnic table and ash trey and ban all the over barring administrators from the hospital grounds.

    • Ken Warner November 17, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

      …or people could just not smoke.

    • LocalT November 18, 2014 at 5:24 pm #


      NIH property is nowhere near 1 square mile. Not even close. It’s barely 10 acres.

      Designated smoking areas don’t work. The idea sounds reasonable but the reality is smokers don’t want these areas too far from building entrances which is problematic. If smoking areas are designated too close to entrances, non-smokers have the joy of walking through plumes of 2nd hand smoke. If smoking areas are designated too far from entrances, smokers tend to disobey restrictions and smoke closer than allowed. In both cases, non-smokers are negatively affected.

      The bottom line is NIH is finally getting with the times by banning smoking on hospital campus.

      Opposition to this ban holds a lot more weight if the ban pertained to a different type of facility.

  7. Ken Warner November 18, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    …or they could just not smoke.

    (second try)

    • Trouble November 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

      One thing is for sure, times are a changing. But……………………

  8. Trouble November 19, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    LocalT- I stopped smoking after 30 years of very much enjoying it. Then you are going to tell me I have no credibility to speak here. Really?

    • Mark November 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

      I smoke trout.

      They’re hard to roll and even harder to light.

      • Trouble November 19, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

        Thxs for the laugh Mark! I needed that!

  9. LocalT November 19, 2014 at 11:25 am #


    I’m not questioning the fact that you are a former smoker.

    You lose credibility when you make erroneous arguments or statements. Your argument comparing a hospital smoking ban to a campground campfire ban is erroneous. Those two issues are similar in nature but the context in which you compare them is irrational.

    Also, your comment that NIH lies on “close to a square mile” further diminishes your credibility. NIH property is roughly 10 acres which is not even 2% of a square mile.

    • Trouble November 19, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

      LocalT, maybe someday you’ll realize that people need to want to stop on their own terms. Shoving it down their throats will do nothing but make matters worse. I believe that. You take care.

  10. earl duran November 20, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    Maybe the Hospital should ban sodas they are very unhealthy.

    • Tom O November 21, 2014 at 7:06 am #

      Me drinking a soda does nothing to your health..unlike smoking.


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