Allegheny Health Network bans tobacco from grounds


PITTSBURGH (AP) (AP)ong> - The seven-hospital Allegheny Health Network will ban smoking and all other tobacco use anywhere on property it owns starting Jan. 1.

Two of the network's hospitals, Jefferson Hospital in Jefferson Hills and Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie, already ban smoking anywhere on their property. The network's five other hospitals, including flagship Allegheny General and West Penn, both in Pittsburgh, had long banned smoking in the buildings, but will now ban it outside, too.

The new rules won't be as strict as those imposed by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, western Pennsylvania's dominant hospital network. UPMC has banned smoking on its properties since 2007, but earlier this summer also banned workers from smoking during their shifts -- even off hospital grounds.

Allegheny Health won't do that, but is offering smoking cessation courses to its workers.