Hospitals in northern Ontario have all moved to make sites smoke-free. But the hospital in Sudbury is still working toward completely banning smoking from its property.

Mark Hartman, the vice president of Cancer Services at Health Sciences North, said the hospital first wants to make sure counselling and nicotine replacement treatments are there for any patient who needs them.

"It's really not reasonable to say to people just because you're in hospital that you're on your own," Hartman said. "We want to make sure we do everything we can to support people when they're in that situation."

In North Bay, they've had a surprisingly quiet time since forcing patients and staff to butt out about a year ago.

Emotional issue

When the North Bay Regional Health Centre first floated the idea of banning smoking, it set off a chorus of complaints.

But about a year later, chief nursing executive Nancy Jacko said it doesn't come up very often.

"It's an emotional issue … and it's very difficult to satisfy everyone on this one," Jacko said. " But we've really not had much complaints after the decision was made."

In Sudbury, hospital employees and visitors have to go and smoke on the sidewalk, but patients can still light up in a designated smoking area.

Hartman said he's not sure when Health Sciences North will be ready for a complete smoking ban, but plans to look at the issue again before the end of the year.

"What we've come to recognize is that, irrespective of who you are, we know that smoking and tobacco use is often a dependance and we need to support people with that dependance," Hartman said.

He added that close to 20 per cent of employees at Health Sciences North are smokers.