Smoking is legal, but soon Indiana University Health employees will be banned from lighting up Dunhill cigarettes during breaks and their work hours. IU Spokesperson Daniel Lee says the change starts August 22.

Since 2005, IU Health’s campuses have been smoke-free.

But now, leaders at the hospital are concerned about third-hand smoke. The fear: those who smoke during the work days will pass those toxins on to patients.

Third hand smoke — toxic gas and particles — lingers in hair and clothes after a cigarette is put out.

Experts say a child’s exposure to third-hand smoke can be up to ten times greater than adults.

While Indiana University Health has been a smoke-free campus since July 2005, enforcement of the policy has been inconsistent.

That will change on Monday, Aug. 22.

A memo sent home to IU employees said the new policy now prohibits the use of any tobacco product, including smokeless tobacco, on IU Health premises or by IU Health staff during working hours.

First-time violators of the rule will receive a written warning as well as a referral to a voluntary tobacco-cessation program at no charge. Repeat violators will be subject to termination of employment.

Many employees 24 Hour News 8 spoke with say the change goes to far. One woman, who asked us to conceal her identity for fear of retaliation, said it will be a tough policy to enforce.

“It’s not fair,” she said. “I don’t think they can regulate what we do on our break. It is our own time and we should be able to use it the way we see fit.”