A no-smoking sign at the 13th Street entrance at Lions Gate Hospital.

ICYMI: The memo on VCH’s Smoke-Free Premises Policy

In case you missed it (ICYMI): Here’s the memo Karin Olson, Chief Operating Officer, Coastal, sent to staff on World No Tobacco Day on May 31st.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is committed to ensuring a safe, healthy, and clean environment for all. The BC Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act and the VCH Smoke-Free Premises Policy both state that smoking or vaping of tobacco, marijuana, and other products (including e-cigarettes) is prohibited in or on all Vancouver Coastal Health owned and/or operated premises, facilities, and grounds.

Please remember that our goal, as an organization providing healthcare, is to ensure an environment that promotes health and reduce the opportunity for illness or harm, The purpose of these policies is to protect patients, clients, staff, volunteers and the general public from the harmful effects of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke is a carcinogen

Second-hand tobacco smoke is a carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure. Smoking bans in public places are recognized as the most effective means for reducing exposure to second-hand smoke; they have been shown to decrease tobacco consumption, reduce serious health-related hospital admissions, increase quit attempts, lengthen the time between relapse, and boost quit rates.

While you may have a personal preference to use tobacco or other products when not working, I have no tolerance for use of these products on any of our VCH properties. As such, please note that I fully support the consequences associated with violation of the policies and hope that, through education and awareness, we will not have to involve any progressive measures.

Violations of the VCH Smoke-Free Premises Policy

  • Staff members found smoking on VCH owned and/or operated premises may be subjected to disciplinary action. For more information, please contact smokefree@vch.ca.
  • Volunteers refusing to comply will be reported to the Supervisor responsible for Volunteer Services.
  • On-site contractors refusing to comply with the policy will be reported to the Manager responsible for on-site construction/renovation projects. Penalties may be issued for non-compliance.
  • Visitors refusing to comply with the policy will be reported to Security or Site Designate and asked to leave VCH property.
  • Patients and clients refusing to comply will be reported to Charge Nurse or Designate. Continued non-compliance will be reported to responsible Physician or Designate.

Contraventions of the BC Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act

  • Smoking or vaping on health authority premises may result in a fine of $58 per offence as per section 2.21(2) of the Act.

Free resources for employees who use tobacco

  • Visit your local pharmacy to access free nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, or inhaler for 12 weeks per year.
  • Contact QuitNow services for a free and comprehensive program to help you quit smoking and remain smoke free through www.quitnow.ca.

Thank you for your support of these policies and for ensuring that our patients, staff and visitors continue to benefit from a smoke free environment.


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