Hospital smokers frustrate neighbors

February 29, 2008 8:56:00 PM PST
Workers can no longer smoke on the grounds of the Methodist Hospital, and now residents are telling the workers to butt out.

Jim Riggio showed us it takes just minutes to sweep up a bag of cigarette butts, gum and food wrappers at Juniper and Wolf. He has lived here 16 years, so he has no allusions about city life.

Still Riggio and others say after Methodist Hospital banned smoking on its property last fall, its workers began crossing into their neighborhood to smoke outside their homes.

Riggio has videotaped what he estimates are 20 to 30 smokers who daily stand in his neighborhood. Some are apologetic, but others would be hard pressed to care less.

"Neighbors are idiots. They act like they live in Beverly Hills and there are prostitutes two blocks away. I really don't care. It really doesn't matter," said one.

Methodist, in a statement, said it is increasing efforts to educate workers "...about being good neighbors by making sure cigarette butts are disposed of safely and appropriately."

Neighbors respond if Methodist really wanted to be a good neighbor, then they would take action to make sure its workers are not littering in the community.