Ala. expands no smoking locations

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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