The Ministry of Health is being urged to think carefully about what fuel it uses in a hospital boiler.
New Zealand Climate & Health Council, OraTaiao, and the New Zealand Medical Students' Association are jointly urging the Ministry to support Christchurch Hospital's switch to lower emission wood waste rather than coal.
Executive member of OraTaiao George Laking says using coal could have major health and climate implications.
"Although based on pure cost it may be less expensive, there are whole hidden costs and consequences," he says.
Mr Laking says a coal-burning boiler is like the hospital chain smoking a giant cigarette and the Ministry shouldn't even be considering using it.
"The health impact of coal is really quite analogous to those of smoking.
"It's the type of irony as if Canterbury Hospital were to roll up a giant, 100-foot sheet of paper with tobacco and light it up as a gargantuan cigarette."