New policy will ban smoking on hospital grounds for patients and staff
After years of planning, Health Sciences North will be completely smoke free on Tuesday, April 1.
Hospital staff, volunteers, students and contract workers have not been allowed to smoke on hospital property since July 12, 2010, but the new policy will extend to patients as well – who have had access to designated smoking shelters since 2010.
On April 1, patients who wish to continue smoking will need to do so away from hospital grounds, on the nearest sidewalk. The grounds extend to the sidewalks at Walford Road, Paris Street and Ramsey Lake Road, and everything in between including parking lots, laneways, walkways, entrances and bus stops.
More than half of the province's hospitals already have smoke-free policies. Those include Northern Ontario hospitals such as Sault Area Hospital, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, West Parry Sound Health Centre and St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Elliot Lake.
According to the World Health Organization “tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, lung diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.”
The World Health Organization says smoking is the single greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer mortality worldwide, causing an estimated 22 per cent of cancer deaths per year.
To help patients with the transition, the hospital will provide nicotine replacement therapy to those interested. A smoking cessation nurse will meet with patients interested in intensive cessation and offer bedside counselling.
Patients will also be provided with information about support available to them in the community should they wish to pursue a smoke-free lifestyle upon discharge.
“One of the aspects of the new smoke-free property policy for our patients who smoke is that it helps break up those routines and triggers that make it easy for them to smoke, such as just walking outside a short distance from the door,” said Dr. Amanda Hey, regional primary care lead at the hospital's Northeast Cancer Centre. “Evidence shows that one of the advantages of creating a smoke-free atmosphere for patients while in hospital is that people who abstain from smoking while in hospital have a greater chance of staying smoke-free once they are discharged.”
If you wish to share your thoughts on the hospital's new expanded smoking ban please contact Jonathan Migneault, Northern Life's health reporter, at [email protected] or at 705-673-5667 ext. 340.