Patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors, vendors and employees will begin to see a smoke-free policy at VA health care facilities starting Oct. 1.
The policy applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes (including electronic and e-cigarettes) and vape pens or e-cigars.
VA reviewed research on second- and third-hand smoke and best practices in the health care industry, then modernized its policy. The policy allows VA to protect the health and well-being of VA staff, patients and the public. It’s part of VA’s commitment to provide excellent health care for Veterans and their families. The policy also applies to all electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) not approved by the Federal Drug Administration.
Overwhelming evidence shows smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke create significant medical risks. A growing body of evidence shows exposure to third-hand smoke creates additional risks to safety and direct patient care.
More information about the health risks associated with smoking is available at the U.S. Surgeon General website.
Resources for quitting
Veterans who want to quit smoking have resources available through VA. Employees can contact their facility for resources to quit smoking. For information about the closest VA location, go to https://www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp
More tools and tips are available at the Smokefree Veteran website. SmokefreeVET is a text messaging program that provides 24/7 support to help military Veterans quit tobacco for good.
VHA offers extensive resources and programs to assist Veterans in their smoke-free journey.
Note: National Association of Government employees will begin implementing the policy Oct. 1 and have until Jan. 1, 2020, to fully comply.