Thank you for not smoking
by Tracie Smith
The grounds of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences are smoke-free. Yet people continue to smoke on Hospital property. It’s frustrating for patients, visitors, staff and volunteers who choose not to smoke but are subjected to second-hand smoke.
It’s also against the law.
What’s being done about it?
Several Security Guards at the Hospital have been deputized, which allows them to issue fines of $305 to people smoking on the property. Several fines have been issued, and more can be expected as additional members of the Security team are deputized. Although Security Guards have many responsibilities and are often called to respond to urgent situations, they are committed to providing a healthy, smoke-free environment.
People often suggest a designated smoking area. Smoke-Free Grounds is provincially legislated (Smoke-Free Ontario Act). According to the legislation, all hospitals in Ontario must be 100% smoke-free, with no designated smoking areas.
The Hospital’s Tobacco Control Steering Committee has implemented several activities to help provide a smoke-free environment that promotes health and wellness, supports efforts to quit, and protects people from second-hand smoke. This includes:
- A team of employees who take regular walks around the property to approach individuals found smoking, remind them of the policy and offer tobacco reduction and cessation supports;
- Strategies to educate patients, visitors, staff, contractors, etc. about our Smoke-Free Grounds;
- Improved smoking cessation resources for patients and staff to support them to be smoke-free while on Hospital property;
- Including smoke-free grounds information in patient appointment letters, the Hospital website, and patient services directories;
- Smoke-free signage throughout the property;
- Overhead announcements regarding smoke-free grounds.
More and more people are expressing their frustration with people smoking on Hospital property. The Hospital’s initiatives and the community’s in compliance will help to change the outdated culture of smoking on health facility properties. Stories from patients who have to walk through smoke, such as a patient attending cancer treatment, demonstrate that we must continue with and build on all efforts to protect patients and families from exposure to smoke.
Thank you to those who do their part to support Smoke-Free Grounds at our Hospital.