As part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) commitment to provide excellent health care for Veterans, the department will implement a new policy restricting smoking by patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors at its health care facilities by October.

Although VA has historically permitted smoking in designated areas, there is growing evidence that smoking and exposure to secondhand and third-hand smoke creates significant medical risks, and risks to safety and direct patient care that are inconsistent with medical requirements and limitations.  Accordingly, VA’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has collaborated with key stakeholders to update and re-certify the policy to be consistent with the department’s commitment to Veterans and the community.

A recent VA survey revealed that approximately 85% of responding facility leadership support smoke-free campuses, and this new policy for patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors allows VA to ensure the health and well-being of VA staff, patients and the public.

“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 and the reason why Veterans will ChooseVA.”

VHA’s new smoke-free policy 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.

To learn more about health risks associated with smoking, visit the Surgeon General’s website at or

VHA has extensive resources and programs to assist Veterans in their smoke-free journey. They can be found at

For additional information about the policy visit:

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  1. Phil Konigsberg July 2, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    It’s about time. The changeover should have occurred years ago. What medical facility or health system these days permits smoking anywhere on its property? Anyone who has served our country should never have been subjected to secondhand smoke while they are in any VA facility. They shouldn’t have to continue doing so until October.

  2. Edward Stewart July 1, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Apparently you didn’t ask the veterans about this change instead “85% of responding facility leadership support smoke-free campuses”.

  3. Barbara Francis June 14, 2019 at 5:55 am

    Will it apply to the employees as well? It should, those that do smoke, smoke as much the patients!!!

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