Nationwide smoking ban in effect at all VA facilities

This month, a nationwide smoking ban surrounding all VA medical facilities went into effect and prohibits visitors, patients, and employees from lighting up outside the centers.

According to an article published by Military Times, “Smoking was already prohibited inside VA medical buildings, but now patients, employees, and visitors will not be able to puff away anywhere on the grounds. Previously, smoking was allowed in designated shelters dotting the grounds of VA medical facilities. Posters and banners promoting the ban have been put up in facilities and the VA is alerting veterans through social media and letters. They have also held forums on the ban.”

The ban brings VA facilities into the already smoke-free 4,000 medical facilities and four national health care systems. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of veterans smoke which means this move has been met with a backlash.

In an effort to address this issue, a smoke-free implementation working group for VA Boston has been slowly implementing this smoking ban to the more than 60,000 veterans it serves. While some are welcoming the ban, saying it is long overdue others have raised concern that the move may prevent veterans from seeking healthcare as they may choose smoking over a doctors visit.

To learn more about this smoking ban affecting veterans, click HERE.