The London Health Sciences Centre has announced plans to become a completely smoke-free facility.
As of June 30th, 2016, non-smoking regulations will be expanded in compliance with recent changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
The legislation mandates that all hospitals in Ontario be completely smoke free by Jan. 1, 2018.
“For the longest time we had our designated smoking areas,” says Steve Coulahan, VP of Human Resources and Organizational Development at LHSC.
“But the recent changes as of January require hospitals in particular to go fully smoke-free now, so we really have no choice in the matter. It’s the way we need to go.”
Smoking anywhere on hospital properties including buildings, grounds and parking lots will be prohibited.
This applies to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars or pipes containing burning tobacco, or any other substance (such as marijuana) that can be smoked in any other manner.
“We know that about 18% of our society continues to smoke, so that number replicates itself in most organizations as well. For a number of people, it will be a big change,” Coulahan adds.
“We will have some monitors on staff who will walk around the premises, advise people of the regulations, and point them in directions where they can get some help in terms of quitting smoking.”
Officials say becoming a smoke-free facility is an important step towards creating a healthier hospital environment.
Coulahan says that the hospital could be fined up to $300,000 if they do not abide by the legislation.
Meanwhile, individuals caught smoking on hospital property can face a $1,000 fine for a first offence, and a $5,000 fine for all following offences.