Legislation Completely Banning Smoking On Hospital Property Takes Effect January 1st
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Windsor Regional Hospital is sending out a reminder that a Ontario government regulation under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, coming into effect on January 1st, 2018, completely prohibits the smoking of cigarettes or any other smoking product on hospital property.
This legislation also forces hospitals to remove any remaining designated smoking area used by staff, patients and visitors. In order to comply with this provincial legislation, the hospital is in the process of removing the last remaining smoking area at the Ouellette and Met campuses, which would be in violation of the law as of January 1st.
In addition, anyone caught smoking anywhere on hospital property as of January 1st is subject to fines. The hospital states that they plan to work with the Windsor-Essex Public Health Unit’s Tobacco Enforcement Officer, who has grounds to lay charges. Violators are subject to a fine of $175 up to a maximum of $5,000.
The hospital says that they are anticipating that because those who choose to smoke can no longer do so on hospital property, smokers will move off campus on to the sidewalks of public roads. This means smokers may move closer proximity to houses in their neighbourhoods.
“We appreciate that this might be a nuisance. While the new Ontario law dictates that the hospital must force smokers off of our property, we are increasing awareness about the benefits of quitting smoking to our staff, and as always we encourage patients to give up smoking through in-patient programs that advises them on how to quit,” the hospital said in a news release.