Hospitals, Health Facilities Go Smoke Free

Vancouver, November 1, 2007 — As part of a province-wide commitment, hospitals and health facilities across Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care will butt out permanently starting May 31st, 2008, World No Tobacco Day.
The policy prohibits smoking in or on all premises owned or operated by the health authority, including care facilities, hospitals and grounds.

The policy will be phased in at residential facilities and sites that serve mental health, addiction and palliative care clients. VCH funded and contracted facilities will be strongly encouraged to develop similar smoke-free premise policies. The ban will not apply to buildings where VCH shares leased space.

“As health care leaders it’s our duty to protect the people we care for, and the people who work for us, from the harms of second hand smoke,” says Dr. Patricia Daly, VCH’s Chief Medical Health Officer. “There’s no known safe level of exposure to second hand smoke. Not only does it stink, it’s a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and non-smoking adults.”

Hospital patients will receive nicotine replacement therapy and other assistance to assist them in complying with the policy.

“Every day in B.C. one person dies due to a motor vehicle accident, but 15 people lose their lives to smoking-related illness and disease,” adds Daly.   “It’s the 21st century, it’s time to stop using this harmful product.”

VCH is responsible for the delivery of $2 billion in community, hospital and residential care services to over one million people in communities from Richmond through Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

Providence Health Care is the largest faith-based health care organization in Canada, operating seven facilities in Vancouver. Providence’s programs and services span the complete continuum of care and meet 25 per cent of VCH’s health care needs.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Laurie Dawkins
Vancouver Coastal Health
Telephone: 604-708-5312

Justin Karasick
Providence Health Care
Telephone: 604-806-8460