WILMINGTON -- Smoking kills nearly 12,000 adults in North Carolina each year. Local hospitals are doing their part to help keep people healthy by going tobacco-free starting Thursday. Tobacco use is banned everywhere on the campuses of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Cape Fear, Pender Memorial and Dosher Memorial Hospitals -- as well as Columbus Regional Healthcare System. They are among more than 90 hospitals in North Carolina to ban tobacco products. Some visitors at New Hanover Regional say they're relieved to see the hospitals take this step. Hospital visitor Brenda Register said, "I don't smoke. My husband does. So, you know, he respects people who don't smoke, he respects the places that do not have smoking in them. So I just feel like it's a good thing because you never know who's standing beside you that can't tolerate the smoke." In the past six months more than 600 employees, spouses and volunteers at New Hanover Regional Medical Center have quit smoking.
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