VHA Facilities Go Fully Smoke-Free
What is it?
As of October 1, 2019, all VA health care facilities have gone smoke-free for employees, patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors.
This change is effective through two smoke-free policies, one for patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors, which was announced in June, and the second for employees, which was announced in August. Together, the two policies ensure a fully smoke-free environment at all VA health care facilities.
Both policies apply to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, any other combustion of tobacco and non-Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including but not limited to electronic or e-cigarettes, vape pens or e-cigars.
Can employees engage in smoking cessation activities during duty time?
Yes, it is important to note that all employees are entitled to attend smoking cessation activities on duty time. VHA Directive 1057, Smoking Cessation Benefit for VHA Employees: No Cost Provision of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, dated, August 10, 2017, provides information for employee smoking cessation benefits.
Will smoking in vehicles in facility parking lots be permitted?
If the parking lot is on VHA facility grounds, then the policy applies and smoking is not permitted in vehicles parked in the lot.
What should facilities do with smoking shelters?
On October 1, VA health care facilities should have made changes throughout their buildings and grounds by locking any smoking shelters, and removing ashtrays, and receptacles. VA Medical Centers will not remove smoking shelters or designated smoking areas until VA Central Oï¬ƒce provides additional guidance.
What can we do if we see someone not adhering to the smoke-free policy on campus?
Supervisors and managers (in addition to the VA Police Department) are responsible for monitoring compliance with the smoke-free policy at the facility level. Each healthcare facility will determine the best way to support VHA’s no smoking policy on their campus. If you have questions regarding this new policy, please speak with your immediate manager.
As a general rule, if you see someone smoking, gently inform the individual of the smoke-free policy. If verbal communication is ineffective in promoting compliance, a courtesy violation warning can be issued by VA Police. Ultimately, failure to comply with the signage can result in the issuance of a Federal citation in accordance with 38 CFR 1.218(b)(6).
Smoking Cessation Resources