VA health care facilities go smoke-free nationwide

Published: Jun. 24, 2019 at 11:07 AM EDT
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Monday, June 24, 2019

(WRDW/WAGT) -- VA health centers are going smoke-free as part of the Department of Veterans Affairs' commitment to providing better care to veterans.

The new policy applies to patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors, and vendors at all health care facilities across the U.S.

"Although VA has historically permitted smoking in designated areas, there is growing evidence that smoking and exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke creates significant medical risks, and risks to safety and direct patient care that are inconsistent with medical requirements and limitations," the VA said in a press release.

According to the release, about 85% of faculty leadership approves of a smoke-free campus plan.

“We are not alone in recognizing the importance of creating a smoke-free campus,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “As of 2014, 4,000 health care facilities and four national health care systems in the U.S. have implemented smoke-free grounds. This policy change coincides with additional VHA efforts to help us become the provider of choice for Veterans."

The new rule applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, any other combustion of tobacco and non-Federal Drug Administration approved electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including but not limited to electronic or e-cigarettes, vape pens or e-cigars.

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