Ensuring that our sites stay smoke-free starts with us. Tips for how to engage your colleagues and teams to speak up for our Smoke-Free Policy and help our patients and employees breathe easier.
Fraser Health supports a smoke-free environment at all of our sites. As of 2014, all of our buildings, property and parking lots are smoke-free to protect the health of our employees, patients, clients and visitors. Our Smoke-Free Policy also covers e-cigarettes, smoking marijuana (medical or recreational) and other vapour products – their use is not permitted on our property. Signs and posters at all of our sites clearly state our Smoke-Free Policy. And our site leaders are taking up the cause.
“I have a key role in creating a smoke-free environment for our patients, families, staff, physicians and visitors,” says Rhonda Veldhoen, Executive Director for Peace Arch and Delta Hospitals, and the communities of Delta and White Rock/ South Surrey.
“It is important for everyone to breathe clean air when they are on our sites and workplaces, which is why this January, our hospitals and communities are focused on sponsoring education and activities to promote a smoke-free environment and supporting smoking cessation.”
While strong leadership is important, enforcement of our smoke-free standard starts with us. There is no one department, program or person responsible for enforcing Smoke-Free Policy. Our staff survey told us that signs cannot replace direct interaction and engagement through dialogue. If we want to breathe easy outside our sites, speaking up for smoke-free is a community responsibility.
“To become smoke-free, all Fraser Health employees have a role as champions for this renewed policy,” says Dr. Helena Swinkels, Medical Health Officer. “We can help our colleagues to refrain from smoking by taking healthy breaks with them, acknowledging that quitting is hard and often takes many tries, and gently reminding them of their obligation to comply with Fraser Health’s policies.”
Dr. Swinkels adds that employees who encounter patients and visitors smoking on site can “respectfully remind them that we have a Smoke-Free Policy, ensure they have discussed Nicotine Replacement Therapy with their health care provider, and ask them to refrain from smoking on our premises, which helps our patient heal and ensures a safe and healthy environment for everyone.
To be clear, employees are not obliged to approach smokers one-on-one if they don’t wish to. But there are many other ways you can help ensure that our sites stay smoke-free:
- If you smoke, ensure you model compliance with Fraser Health’s Smoke-Free Policy by walking off the site property before lighting up. Consider using nicotine replacement therapy to help manage your cravings while at work. If you are interested in quitting, free resources such as Quitnow.ca and the BC Smoking Cessation Program can help you.
- If you see someone smoking on our site, there are things you can do to help. We have a brochure, How to Approach and Talk to People Who Smoke on our Pulse page (also available from Printshop using code #258094) which you can download and share with your teams.
- Site leaders have been asked to form smoke-free working groups to initiate smoke-free activities. You can join a smoke-free working group at your site or volunteer to take part in a walkabout team. This team can conduct informal rounds to engage with people found smoking on site. If you are interested in joining one please ask your manager, or take the initiative to gather a group of colleagues together.
- We have tools to help you encourage your patients to go smoke-free. You can attend one of the in-person training sessions that are currently being offered at sites which teach the fundamentals of nicotine withdrawal management and brief tobacco intervention. Or, you can take the training online: it’s available to all clinical leaders through the CCRS platform. A course designed for direct care providers and non-clinical staff will soon be available on CCRS. Also, there are brochures to hand out to your patients about our Smoke-Free Policy: search ‘nicotine’ in the Patient Education Catalogue and place your order there.
- We also have resources to enable you to support your site to go smoke-free. Check out our comprehensive kit of Smoke-Free Policy implementation tools and resources to become a smoke-free champion at your site. We are adding more all the time. If you feel that your site needs additional smoke-free posters, you can download and print them from our Smoke-Free Policy Pulse page. Please request approval from your site manager before posting.
Please join us in speaking up for our Smoke-Free Policy. When we all speak together, we can breathe easy.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook this January during our smoke-free campaign to learn more about patient and employee resources for smoking cessation.