Hospital Smoking Area Published Feb. 2, 2007 By Brig. Gen. Robert Steel 48th Fighter Wing commander ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- QUESTION: I am writing to you to address the smoking section of the RAF Lakenheath hospital. The smoking section is located in the path from the main hospital parking lot to the hospital entrance. So often while walking into the hospital I am hit with a wave of smoke that has drifted over from the smoking area. As a mother I do not appreciate my children being exposed to secondhand smoke at the hospital, a place that is supposed to promote healthy living. I feel that this designated smoking area should be relocated to a place that is less of a high traffic area. I understand that smoking is a personal choice; however I should have the choice on whether or not to inhale cigarette smoke. I feel I should have the right to breathe fresh air, especially at a location such as the hospital. ANSWER: Thank you for sharing your concern. We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. The Air Force instruction regarding smoking dictates that smoking areas be situated at least 25 feet from any entrance. Alternative smoking areas were looked at, but this location was determined to be the best fit given the constraints. The area you note is the only smoking area at the hospital and it does meet this 25 foot set-back requirement, additionally, the area is enclosed by a brick wall to further aide in creating a separate, set aside area. The Hospital Commander has instructed his staff to place warning signs up identifying the smoking area so as to allow patients and visitors the opportunity to choose a different entrance or route of travel when visiting the hospital. We appreciate your concern about second hand smoke and providing a separate smoking area allows us to meet the needs of both our smokers and nonsmokers. Once all our patients and staff recognize the dangers of smoking and stop smoking, it is our hope that the smoking area will no longer be necessary. Thank you again for your note.