A spokesperson for the Sault Area Hospital says Sudbury won't be able to completely eradicate smoking on hospital property.

Health Sciences North plans to force patients to butt out as of April first — and that applies to the Ramsey Lake Health Centre and the Sudbury Outpatient Clinic at the old Memorial hospital site.

Employees and visitors who want to smoke have already been sent to the sidewalk.

At the Sault Area Hospital, spokesperson Mario Paluzzi said the city's no smoking bylaw was extended to its property, which allowed bylaw officers to ticket smokers violating the rules. The hospital banned smoking on its property three years ago.

“Have there been tickets issued in the three years that we were here? Yes, especially earlier on. But those were based on those people who, even after being asked to comply, either refused to or were caught at a subsequent time,” he said.

sudbury hospital no smoking sign

Health Sciences North in Sudbury is attempting to do something the Sault Area Hospital did three years ago. As of April first, patients at the Ramsey Lake Health Centre and the Sudbury Outpatient Clinic will have to go to the public sidewalk to smoke. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)

Paluzzi said there's no such thing as a 100 per cent smoking ban.

“There's always going to be people that either because they're still not aware or just want to sneak out and sneak a smoke.”

Getting accustomed to a smoke-free policy at the Sudbury hospital sites is something Colette Beauchamp is resigned to. She routinely smokes on the sidewalk near the Ramsey Lake Health Centre on busy Kirkwood Drive. It's one spot where she and other hospital employees gather to smoke.

“I don't like coming out here in the winter and you know at my age it's time to quit,” Beauchamp said.

“Working in a hospital you see all the effects of what smoking does and it's just time.”

The vice president of Cancer Services and Medical Imaging at Health Sciences North said he’s hoping that continuing to provide nicotine replacement tools will ease the transition.

“We've actually had some smokers come back to us and thank us for intervening and providing them the opportunity to consider nicotine replacement therapy,” Mark Hartman said, adding they often go on to remain tobacco-free.