NJ bans smoking at 2 hospitals

July 8, 2009 8:43:43 AM PDT
Smoking is banned in all areas of two psychiatric hospitals in New Jersey, beginning Wednesday.The measure extends the ban to outdoor areas. Smoking was already forbidden inside Greystone Park hospital in Parsippany and Ancora in Hammonton.

Smoking cessation programs aimed at helping patients and staff have taken place for more than a year.

Proponents say it will improve patient and staff health, eliminate a black market in cigarettes and allow more time for treatment programs.

Opponents say many patients are not free to leave the grounds to smoke and there's concern the ban would worsen the black market.

The state plans to extend the plan to three other psychiatric hospitals in the future.