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State mental health facilities ban smoking

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Smoking will no longer be allowed and
tobacco products will be banned from Alabama mental health
facilities after Jan. 4.

Mental Health Commissioner John Houston said patients, staff
members and visitors would not be allowed to have a pack of
cigarettes or other tobacco products on their persons in mental
health hospitals or other facilities.

Houston said Wednesday in a release that mental patients often
have shorter life spans than the general population. He said the
reason is common health problems like heart disease, diabetes and
high blood pressure.

He said the "tobacco-free" policy is part of an overall effort
to reduce the risk of patients developing those common health
problems.


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