WINCHESTER – The Winchester District Memorial Hospital will be completely smoke-free starting January 1, 2018. Individuals can no longer smoke anywhere on hospital property, including in vehicles in hospital parking lots.
“WDMH is committed to building healthier communities and to fostering a safe, healthy workplace,” explained Cholly Boland, hospital CEO in a media release.
All Ontario hospitals must comply with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act which ban smoking on all hospital properties. The new rules apply to the smoking of tobacco, medical marijuana and e-cigarettes (smoking/vaping). Everyone is required to leave hospital property to smoke. As well, smoking is not permitted within 60 feet of the public school, playground or sports field.
WDMH provides support to patient and staff who wish to quit smoking. Smoking cessation programs are also offered through family physicians and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.
The local public health unit is responsible for enforcing the law and carries out inspections and responds to smoking complaints. Individuals can be fined up to $1000 for a first offence. The hospital can also be fined, up to $100,000, for a first offence.