Providence Healthcare
Providence Healthcare

Providence Becomes Smoke-Free Campus August 1

Jul 14, 2017

On August 1, Providence Healthcare will be a smoke-free campus. This means that smoking at Providence will be prohibited on all our grounds as well as inside cars on our property.

“Like many other hospitals throughout the province, we are moving to a tobacco free campus as part of our commitment to safety and wellness for both our patients and staff,” says Tom Clancey, Director of Environmental Services.

This policy applies to all our patients, staff, volunteers, students and visitors in compliance with the Government of Ontario’s Smoke-Free Ontario Act. The Act refers to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes or any other substance that can be smoked in any other manner (e.g. marijuana).

“With this new policy, any individual found smoking on Providence property as of August 1 will be reminded we are a smoke-free campus and will be asked to extinguish their product immediately,” says Clancey. “Any person found in contravention of the Smoke Free Ontario Act could also be charged by Toronto Public Health Tobacco Enforcement as part of their ongoing execution of the Act.”

Tobacco Enforcement Officers can conduct inspections of public places and workplaces to ensure compliance with the law, respond to complaints about offences and lay charges when necessary. Smoke-Free Ontario Act fines range from $300 to $300,000.

Providence offers smoking cessation support for patients available through their health care team. Nicotine replacement therapy or other medications may be prescribed. If you are a Providence patient, please speak with your health care team to determine what supports are available. A smoking cessation program is also available for Providence staff who are looking to quit.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does smoke-free mean?
Smoking is prohibited across all areas of Providence in compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act. This includes:

  • Inside all buildings
  • Exterior grounds

Why is Providence going smoke-free?
Providence is going smoke-free in response to changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act banning smoking on hospital grounds.

What’s the Act?
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act limits tobacco use in public spaces with the intention of reducing the many health risks associated with smoking and second-hand smoke. First implemented in 2006, the Act took measures to ban smoking in all enclosed work spaces, including businesses, organizations and hospitals. The Act was amended in 2012 to prohibit smoking outside enclosed workplaces except in specifically-designated smoking areas. This measure required that designated smoking areas were located at least nine metres away from any hospital entrance with clear signage to alert patients, visitors and staff of this policy requirement. At that time, Providence installed two designated smoking areas for patients, residents, visitors and staff –outside the Hospital and the Houses of Providence main entrances.

What is changing with the Act?
In January 2016, the Ontario government announced that further amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act would include a two-year transition period in which hospitals must move to being 100 per cent smoke free, including a ban on the use of e-cigarettes.Providence is shifting to become a completely smoke-free hospital effective August 1.

Is there anywhere that I can smoke on Providence grounds?
As of August 1, smoking is prohibited across all Providence property.

Why can’t we smoke at the Houses designated smoking area?
A Providence Task Force was established in Fall 2016 to consider the impact of requiring accessibility of a designated smoking area (DSA) for residents of the Houses as per Ministry of Health and Long Term Care requirements (MOHLTC). The group considered whether the remaining DSA in the Houses should be accessible to Hospital patients, clients, visitors and to Providence staff. The task force consisted of staff from both the Houses and Hospital along with a family representative from the Houses. Based on results of feedback received through a survey sent to all Houses residents and families, the Task Force recommended only allowing Houses residents to smoke in the Houses DSA (as per legislation).

Can I smoke in my vehicle while on Providence grounds?
No. Smoking is prohibited on hospital grounds including inside and outside your car.

What will happen if I smoke on Providence grounds?
Smoking is prohibited throughout our hospital grounds. You will likely be approached while smoking outside and asked to either stop smoking or leave the property.

How will you enforce this policy?
Any individual found to be smoking on Providence’s property will be asked to extinguish their product immediately. Individuals smoking on our property could also be approached directly by a City of Toronto Enforcement Officer and fined.

What are the fines for smoking on Providence property?
Fines range from $300 to $300,000 through the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

Are staff, patients and visitors expected to quit smoking?
No. The intent of this policy is to create a smoke-free environment on our grounds. We are however dedicated to supporting those who choose to quit smoking through various smoking cessation programs.

Are you offering any supports for patients that smoke?
Yes, for patients who would like to stop smoking, we offer smoking cessation resources. Nicotine replacement therapy or other medications may be prescribed. Please speak with your health care team to determine what supports are available.

Are there any supports for staff that smoke?
Yes, a smoking cessation program is available for Providence staff looking to quit. The free program provides access to a certified tobacco counsellor and smoking cessation resources. Pharmacotherapy is also available depending on need. The initial appointment includes setting goals and creating a personalized cessation plan. Scheduled follow-ups can be completed either in person or over the phone. Participants also have free access to the Providence gym. For more info, contact Pharmacist Vivian Li, a certified Tobacco Educator, at 416-285-3666 x4161.

How can I help Providence maintain a smoke-free environment?

  • Wait until you are completely off hospital property before smoking (this includes use of e-cigarettes)
  • Extinguish your cigarette before re-entering our property and dispose of cigarette butts in the receptacles provided