Dept. of Veteran Affairs down on smoking at VA Medical Facilities


Over the last few years the Department of Veterans Affairs has pushed smokers out of building and now they’re pushing them even further.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has now banned smoking completely at local medical facilities.

“There was an outside smoking shelter that veterans and visitors and employees were able to smoke in, but now that is going to be blocked off and eventually removed,” Christina Gallson, smoking cessation coordinator.

She says smokers now have to go outside the gate to light up. The new ban applies to any visitors, patients, employees and people who live at the VA hospital.

Officials at the VA say if a resident is wheelchair bound, and wants to go outside for a cigarette, then staff will not be allowed to assist the person to exit the building for a smoke.

“So anyone who is under contract with the VA, is not able to assist. So family members friends would have to be able to assist them with the transition,” said Gallson, who said this is all in an effort to encourage veterans to kick the habit for goo. “The effects of secondhand smoke have proven to be so detrimental to everyone’s health so we’re just trying to prevent that.”

According to the center for disease control tobacco use tends to be higher among veterans verses non-veterans. That’s something Calvin Tucker a Vietnam Veteran from Buffalo knows something about.

“We smoked for the stress, to relive stress you know from the military itself and at war, you find ways to cope,” he said.

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