Grand River Hospital to go smoke-free in April
Published Monday, February 25, 2013 6:22PM EST
They’re not the first, but they just hope they won’t be the last.
Kitchener’s Grand River Hospital plans to completely eliminate smoking anywhere on its property as of April.
It’s a move that has already been made by hospitals in Hamilton and Calgary, but GRH officials say their only goal is to promote and improve community health.
Currently, the hospital only allows smoking in certain areas well away from the building.
Hospital communications director Mark Karjaluoto says those areas will disappear once the new policy is in place.
“We would be asking people, if they did want to smoke, that they leave the property to do so,” he said.
“We’re working out the logistics of that.”
Smokers will now have to walk about 90 feet further to a sidewalk in order to light up. The new rules will apply to hospital patients, visitors and staff.
Ian Gilchrist, himself a smoker, says he’s not sure forcing smokers to walk a little farther will make a significant difference in smoking rates.
“I don’t know if it solves the problem,” he told CTV.
“I guess there’s going to be a lot of people standing on the sidewalk.”
Karjaluoto says the hospital is mindful of those who are addicted to tobacco and will offer them alternatives such as nicotine patches and suggestions for a healthier lifestyle.
“We would be asking them right away (if they) use tobacco and then we would be working with them to understand ‘Why do you use it? Would you like to quit? How can we help you out with that?’ he said.
The ban will apply to the hospital’s main building in Kitchener as well as its Freeport site.
An estimated 37,000 Canadians die each year due to smoking-related causes.