For immediate release

January 6, 2012

New smoking policy planned for New Year at RVH

In an important initiative, Renfrew Victoria Hospital is implementing designated smoking areas on hospital property. Smoking in other areas will be prohibited.

“As a health care facility committed to providing the safest and healthiest environment possible for patients, staff, physicians and visitors, our ultimate goal is to become smoke-free,” says RVH President and CEO Randy Penney.

However, Penney notes, being sensitive and compassionate to the needs of those who smoke, RVH will begin by limiting the areas where smoking will be permitted on hospital property. This compromise respects the rights of non-smokers and addresses the needs of smokers.

In cooperation with a committee comprised of RVH staff members representing smokers and non-smokers, two designated smoking areas have been chosen. These areas comply with the 9-metre distance restriction from entrances and exits that is required by the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, and have been assessed for safety concerns such as adequate lighting and traffic volume. Clear signage will be posted to indicate these areas. For visitors and patients, the designated area will be located outside the Emergency Department.

Butt stops will be removed from all other areas around the hospital including entrances/exits and will only be located in the designated areas.

Cooperation in abiding by the new rules will ensure the safety and comfort of patients, visitors and staff. Those observed smoking in places other than the designated areas will be asked to butt out or relocate to one of the two assigned areas.

This new policy comes into effect during National Non-Smoking Week, January 15–21. Included among the goals of the week, an event established in 1977, are education about the dangers of smoking, prevention from beginning to smoke and help for individuals who want to quit smoking.

During the week, which has been given the theme, “Breaking up is hard to do,” RVH will highlight different methods of smoking cessation that are available. The hospital takes a positive approach by providing support to both patients and staff who express a wish to quit.

In 2006, a partnership was formed with The Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (OMSC)—a program that provides counselling, educational materials, nicotine replacement aids and follow-up support to patients who want to try to kick the habit. A summary of the program indicates that 241 smokers have been consulted since its implementation at RVH, with a 16% increase in the number of patients who received smoking cessation counselling in 2011.

“We’re happy to be able to offer our guidance and support to patients and staff members who want to make this significant change to their lifestyle, and we’re proud of the many successful ‘quits’ we’ve had,” says RVH Respiratory Therapist Maureen Magill.

If you would like more information about quitting, visit the www.smokershelpline.ca or call Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333.

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For more information please contact Randy Penney, President and CEO, Renfrew Victoria Hospital, at 613-432-4851, ext. 260.

We are committed to providing a safe, secure and respectful environment for our patients, staff and visitors
and will not tolerate any form of violent, abusive or aggressive behaviour.