Smoking: distance debate

All four Syracuse hospitals want to push smokers to light up somewhere else. Dan Hurley, of Upstate Medical University, says that despite the rules, the line is blurred where smokers can and can't go. University Hospital is already a smoke free campus, but it's hard for officials to enforce the rule on city streets. If the law went into effect, it means that people would have to stop smoking from within 100 feet of the building and drop their ashes on Harrison Street instead of East Adams.

Smokers near Saint Joe's Hospital say the idea is a bunch of hot air. Michael VanGorden says, "You know smoke evaporates what, 10 feet in the air? What damage is that gonna do?" William Plumley says, "I think they just should have a better smoking hut, have an exhaust port going out somewhere, maybe something that goes further away from the building up to the roof or something like that."

Onondaga County Legislator Tom Buckel proposed the measure. As far as enforcing the law, Buckel says, "Well the reality is, with this type of statute on the books, I believe people are going to voluntarily respect it. People want to obey the law."

Buckel says he wants the proposal passed in time to put in place by the time Upstate opens its Children's Hospital this fall.