Patients at the Sudbury hospital will soon have to leave the property to smoke.

As of April 1, Health Sciences North is going 100 per cent smoke free, which means people, including patients will not longer be allowed to light up in designated smoking areas.

Nicotine replacement options will be provided for patients who want them, said Mark Hartman, vice-president of cancer services for Health Sciences North.


Sudbury's hospital has been working towards implementing a smoke-free policy for a number of years, according to a press release issued Friday. "Now that appropriate supports for tobacco abstinence and smoking cessation services are available for patients admitted to the hospital, the new policy will prohibit smoking on hospital grounds at the Ramsey Lake Health Centre and Sudbury Outpatient Centre, for all persons." ((CBC))

"Their dependence is triggered by seeing other smokers," he said. "And by making it a little more difficult to smoke, we hope that that will be an incentive for people to consider alternatives like nicotine replacement therapy — and by getting them onto that therapy [we hope] they will remain smoke free after they discharge."

A hospital press release issued Friday noted that "to ensure every patient is comfortable with the transition, patients will be asked about their smoking status upon admission. This information will then be documented on the patient’s admission database and nicotine replacement therapy will be provided for those interested. A smoking cessation nurse will also meet with patients who are interested in intensive cessation counselling at the bedside. Patients will also be provided with information about support available to them in the community should they wish to pursue their smoke-free lifestyle upon discharge."

Hartman said about 25 per cent of patients at the hospital smoke.

Staff and visitors were banned from smoking on hospital property several years ago.

Hartman noted most other hospitals in the north are already completely smoke free.