The Department of Veterans Affairs has banned smoking at all VA facilities across the nation effective immediately, the agency announced today.
The decision to go “smoke-free” includes the Dayton VA Medical Center and its campus along with all area community based outpatient clinics in Springfield, Middletown, Lima and Richmond, Indiana, according to a press release.
First-time violators will be verbally reminded of the smoking ban, but additional infractions can result in a fine from the Dayton VA Police, according to the announcement.
The new policy prohibits all “combustible tobacco products and smoking materials,” which includes cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes, matches, lighters, and lighting fluid, according to the press release. The ban applies to all patients, employees, visitors, vendors, volunteers, and contractors.
The VA cited the health risks of smoking and secondhand and thirdhand smoke as a reason for the ban. The decision was also made to reduce the risk associated with oxygen tanks and other flammable gasses, according to the press release.
The more than 50,000 vets living in the area served by the Dayton VA were notified of the change to the smoking policy over the past several months via letters, social media posts, press releases, and town hall meetings conducted by phone, according to the agency.
The Dayton VA is offering tobacco treatment services for all enrolled veterans and they can get more information by contacting their primary care provider. The VA also offers a free smoking cessation benefit to employees, including access to nicotine replacement therapy.
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