U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Tuesday that smoking and vaping will no longer be allowed at VA Health Care Centers across the country starting October 1st.
In the past, there were designated smoking areas at VA facilities. The new policy will limit all types of smoking including cigarettes and electronic vape pens.
The VA cited growing evidence that smoke exposure causes significant medical problems as the reason for the new policy.
According to a recent VA survey, 85 percent of VA facility leadership support smoke-free campuses.
“We are not alone in recognizing the importance of creating a smoke-free campus,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in the release. “As of 2014, 4,000 health care facilities and four national health care systems in the U.S. have implemented smoke-free grounds.”
The new policy will pertain to patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors.
“This policy change coincides with additional VHA efforts to help us become the provider of choice for Veterans and the reason why Veterans will ChooseVA,” Wilkie said.