The Hay River Health and Social Services Authority (HRHSSA) is kicking butts this month, joining a growing list of hospitals and health facilities worldwide making their grounds tobacco-free.
As of Nov. 28, the HRHSSA will launch a new policy aimed at providing a healthier and safer environment for its staff, clients and visitors.
As a result of the strategy, no tobacco products will be permitted on HRHSSA property.
“We really want to emphasize that we want to let people know where they can smoke, and not whether they can smoke,” said executive assistant Erin Griffiths.
The new tobacco-free zone will cover the hospital grounds, the clinic, Woodland Manor and the supportive living facilities. It follows an initiative first taken by the Stanton Territorial Health Authority in February 2012.
The neighbouring Pentecostal church has also agreed to make its ground tobacco-free.
“Allowing the use of tobacco products on the grounds does not promote a healthy environment, nor does it position HRHSSA as a territorial and community health leader,” reads an HRHSSA release.
Two designated smoking areas have been identified for those living in Woodland Manor and the supportive living campus, given they are residents.
Cold turkey sandwiches will be served on Nov. 28 at noon at the HRHSSA cafeteria, to officially launch the policy. Nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gums and inhalers as well as quit kits will be made available to smokers seeking the help they need to quit.
The Beaufort Delta HSSA in Inuvik will be launching its tobacco-free strategy in early 2013.
Approximately 36 per cent of NWT residents use tobacco products, which is more than double the national average, according to the HRHSSA release.
by Myles Dolphin