Northern Health Smoke free in 2008

Northern Health facilities in northeastern BC are preparing to go smoke-free, effective January 2, 2008. The move is part of Northern Health?s overall plan to make all of its facilities and grounds smoke-free by March 2008.

?We are committed to ensuring that health facilities in this province provide the best possible environment for patients, staff and visitors,? said Health Minister George Abbott. ?Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease and death in British Columbia and by implementing smoke free premises bans, Northern Health and other health authorities are demonstrating their commitment to the health and wellness of the many British Columbians who work in or are cared for by our healthcare facilities.?

The Government of British Columbia announced new health authority policies in November that will ban smoking on health facility grounds province-wide by October 2008. Northern Health?s Northeast Health Service Delivery Area is taking the lead on implementing its smoke-free grounds policy, which will take effect January 2nd. The Northern Interior and Northwest HSDAs will follow, with the goal of being smoke-free by March 2008.

The Smoke Free Grounds policy is part of a comprehensive tobacco reduction strategy which consists of four pillars:

· Prevention of initiation of tobacco use · Protection from exposure to second hand smoke · Enforcement of federal and provincial tobacco control legislation · Cessation support for tobacco users wishing to quit. The NH smoke-free policy applies to everyone on Northern Health property. This includes staff, patients, visitors, volunteers, students, contractors and other people providing services to, or acting on behalf of, Northern Health.

Northern Health has put in place special consideration for mental health and addictions programs. Residents in long term care facilities can continue to smoke on NH grounds in outdoor facilities under the new policy.