Smoking ban set for some downtown streets and sidewalks

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Smoking will soon be banned on some downtown Charleston public streets and sidewalks.

"We've been working really hard to create a safe healthy environment for everyone who visits our campus," Director of the MUSC Office of Health Promotion Susan Johnson, Ph.D says.  "Not just employees and students, but also we have lots of patients and visitors and community members who come on our campus every day."

The new ordinance was passed by Charleston City Council and will go into effect on Friday, March 1st.  It's an addendum to a ban enacted last March, which outlawed all tobacco products on the campuses of MUSC and Roper Hospital.

Now, smoking will be disallowed on many streets outlining the campus.

The manager of nearby apartment complex 40 Bee Street says he fears the ban will push smokers to his property.

"[The hospitals] say, 'We don't want smoke right around the hospital,' but we don't want smoke in our parking lots and underneath all of our buildings," Brent Lindley says.

He says he would consider removing the cigarette butt receptacle currently reserved for his 150 residents, if smokers begin to congregate.

"If smokers do migrate, we are prepared to address that and to try and alleviate any problems that might occur as a result of that," Johnson says.

All smokers who are asked to extinguish their cigarettes will be given a coupon for a free stick of Nicorette gum at any MUSC pharmacy.  If necessary, MUSC Public Safety can fine violators up to $25.

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