Laurel hospital becomes tobacco-free

Tobacco is the leading cause of death for many Mississippians, and that is why a Pine Belt hospital is implementing a new policy banning all tobacco products at its facilities.

Starting April 1, South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel becomes tobacco free.

Not only the main hospital will be under the regulations, but all of the clinics and nursing homes it owns will enforce this policy as well.

Hospital officials say it is necessary to give their employees an alternative.

"When we made the announcement, we started working with our employees to start offering some smoking cessation programs," saidAssociate Executive Director Linda Gavin. "We even offered some of those for the general public."

Currently, 39 hospitals across the state are tobacco free, and six more will soon follow.