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HomeNewsHospital to be totally smoke-free ahead of provincial deadline

Hospital to be totally smoke-free ahead of provincial deadline

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The North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) currently allows smoking in designated areas outside and on the perimeter of the property only, but that is about to change.

Beginning November 1, the NBRHC will attempt to go completely smoke-free at its facility, a full two months ahead of the provincially-mandated January 1, 2018.

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act stipulation has always loomed, so the NBRHC is preparing patients, staff, and visitors for the change by being proactive. An awareness campaign about the changes to expect is launching at the NBRHC and smoking cessation aids will be offered. There are smokers who are confined to the grounds, such as mental health patients, who will be impacted by the initiative.

Dr. Jim Chirico, the medical officer of health has long been in favour of a 100 per cent smoke-free health centre. When the hospital opened, municipal politicians could have mandated such a scenario, but patients’ rights were invoked and a gradual smoke-free policy emerged. That was in 2011, when the designated smoking areas were to be allowed for a matter of months. Those areas remain to this day.

Smokers who ignore the November 1 ban face up to a $5,000 fine.

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