Every year, more than 3000 Albertans die from tobacco-related causes. Sadly, tobacco use is the leading cause of disease, disability and premature death in the province.
But, the harmful effects of smoking do not just impact those who smoke. Second-hand smoke causes serious disease and death in non-smoking adults. Even brief exposure can be dangerous.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is providing a safe and healthy environment for patients, visitors, staff, physicians and volunteers by implementing a Tobacco and Smoke-Free Environments policy.
The policy outlines that the use of tobacco products is not permitted on AHS property, including grounds, facilities, property and vehicles in an area owned, operated or leased or funded by AHS.
The updated policy is effective April 26, 2017, and now prohibits the use of tobacco and tobacco-like products on all AHS properties throughout Alberta. With the addition of “tobacco-like products”, the revised policy now covers e-cigarettes, medical marijuana, and any other substances smoked or consumed in a manner similar to tobacco.
Provisions for both staff and clients to abstain from tobacco use prior to home visits, as well as in parking areas, vehicles parked in parking lots, and sidewalks on site, have also been added.
Tobacco and smoke-free environments policies were in place in nine of the former entities prior to the formation of AHS. The new policy replaces these policies and expands province-wide.
AHS is working with sites to transition to a tobacco free environment. To help ease the transition, designated outdoor smoking areas may be available for a time for patients and residents.
AHS offers a variety of nicotine replacement therapies to patients while they are in the hospital. Patients and residents identified as tobacco users at the time of admission will be informed of the policy and offered comfort measures to help manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms for the duration of their stay at an AHS site.
To learn more about AHS provincial programs to help Albertans quit smoking, visit www.albertaquits.ca
The policy supports and complies with Alberta’s Tobacco Reduction Act. Those found in violation of Alberta’s Tobacco Reduction Act may be subject to a fine.
For more information on the implementation of this policy, or if you have any questions or concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.