Smoking policy to restrict smoking at VA facilities

Smoking policy to restrict smoking at VA facilities

WASHINGTON D.C. (KFVS) - Smoking will soon be restricted at Veterans Affairs facilities.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) will implement a new policy restricting smoking by patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors at its health care facilities by October.

The policy comes after U.S. Senators, including Sen. Dick Durbin, and U.S. Representatives introduced a bill which would ban smoking at all U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities in July.

According to VA staff, the facilities have historically permitted smoking in designated areas.

They said there is evidence that smoking and exposure to secondhand and third-hand smoke creates significant medical risks

“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.”

The 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 according to staff.

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