VA smoking ban begins October 1

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Medical Center Director said efforts directed to help vets, staff quit smoking

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tuesday, Mountain Home Veterans Affairs will join 4,000 other facilities across the country and ban smoking from all campuses.

All types of smoking and vaping will be prohibited on campus including cigarettes, pipes, cigars and any type of electronic cigarette on campus. The ban does not include smokeless tobacco.

Mountain Home Medical Center Director Dean Borsos said part of the goal is to point veterans, VA faculty and staff toward quitting smoking by offering different smoking cessation programs and support.

“We’ll encourage them to participate in other activities, increasing their exercise levels, other things that would help lead them to a healthier lifestyle,” he said Monday.

The move also aims to reduce secondhand and thirdhand smoke on the VA campus, according to the VA website.

Thirdhand smoke, according to Mayo Clinic, is leftover nicotine and other chemicals on indoor surfaces left by tobacco smoke. Thirdhand smoke tends to cling to furniture, clothes, drapes, walls, bedding, carpet, dust and vehicles after smoking has stopped, Mayo Clinic says, and can lead to tobacco-related health problems for children and non-smoking adults.

The VA will be closing previously-designated smoking areas, Borsos said, and smoking won’t be allowed anywhere on campus, including parking lots.

He said veterans, faculty and staff will have access to ongoing support to quit smoking, and that’s at the backbone of the move to ban smoking on campus.

“We’re hoping that with the right caring and nurturing of people who are currently having issues, we can help them quit,” he said, adding,
“One day, folks will look back and this won’t be an afterthought, that everybody will believe that having a smoke-free campus is the right way to do it.”

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