Smokers near hospital upset neighbors

Cigarette butts, matchbooks litter ground in neighborhood near Memorial Regional Hospital

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – People living near Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood say their neighborhood has become an ashtray since the hospital became a smoke-free campus.

Neighbors can often see patients and employees smoking along Johnson Street outside the emergency room. Some push their IV carts or take their wheelchairs outside.

"It is unrealistic to make it a smoke-free environment," said Allison Rossi.

Employees often smoke in a neighborhood west of the hospital. Discarded cigarette butts and matchbooks litter the sidewalk.

"They should have a designated smoking area so people can put their cigarette butts into an ashtray and place them where they should go, not on the ground," said Rossi.

Rossi said she enjoys living next to the hospital but wishes the facility keep cleaner.

"They're, for the most part, good neighbors. They want to make the neighborhood better but making a smoke-free environment is pushing everybody out onto the street," she added.

Kerting Baldwin, a spokeswoman for Memorial Regional Hospital, issued a statement, saying: "Memorial Healthcare System went tobacco-free with the goal of enhancing the healing environment and the health of the community we serve.

In the spirit of this initiative, we continue to educate our employees, while requesting their cooperation to not smoke on the hospital grounds or around the perimeter of the hospital campus."