Nurse, bring me a scalpel and an ashtray

May 27, 2009

Some radical news from Beijing. China is going to ban smoking in all hospitals. What a concept, preventing smoking in a building filled with sick people, many of them already seriously ill from smoking.

Mind you, they’re not going to ban it until 2011. I guess it takes a while to print out some “NO SMOKING” signs and Scotch-tape them to the walls or whatever.

Or maybe the long delay is to allow heavy smokers who are planning elective surgery to go ahead and get it out of the way while they can still enjoy their stay.

To answer some of the questions that will arise from this news, yes, it is my understanding that the ban will include doctors performing operations and nurses in oxygen tents.

I believe it will even apply to patients undergoing lengthy surgery, even though they aren’t able to go outside for a cigarette break. I’m still checking to find out if it applies to children under six.

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Above: A boy smokes a cigarette in Xiahe, western China’s Gansu province, in a 2006 photo. REUTERS/ Jason Lee

Right: Parents visit their sick child in a hospital in the rural village of Chao Jiang in southwest China’s Yunnan province, in a 2007 photo. REUTERS/Nir Elias

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I lived in China a total of about eigth years, in three stints, in different parts of the country (Tianjin, Beijing, Macau, and Shunde — in Guangdong Province midway between Macau and Guangzhou), and indeed, smoking was widespread, though it had slowed a bit in certain places during my last stint (1999-2000) compared to during my first go (1985-88).I had to attend the occasional banquet, as a university teacher, and invariably the very first thing offered me was two or three cigarettes, usually a premier Chinese brand. (Which was fine with me; I smoke quite a bit.)I do think I might speak up were I ever to have had a doctor or other medical person try to treat me with a ciggie dangling from his (or her) lips!Somewhat curiously (to me, anyway), the one place I encountered a strict no-smoking ban right from when I first hit Chinese shores in mid-1985 was on the trains. I had to go to the platform between cars, and even there, like as not any passing train staff would sneer at me — even as they sometimes themselves stopped to fire up!Oh, well . . . 😉

Posted by Mekhong Kurt | Report as abusive

[…] Another decent blogger placed an observative post today on Oddly Enough Blog Archive Nurse, bring me a scalpel and an …Here’s a quick excerpt […]

Posted by Oddly Enough Blog Archive Nurse, bring me a scalpel and an … | The Quit Smoking company! | Report as abusive

I must confess I tried to take this one lightly, but all my efforts were puffed away! I am completely burnt with this bit of news, and totally smoked by the pictures…

Posted by M | Report as abusive

Do you see that, Bob? Someone thinks you are decent! Have they seen the rest of your stuff?

Posted by Mary K | Report as abusive

It’s time to ban smoking and not only in China.

Posted by StopSmokerMen | Report as abusive