Written by Ruth Hellerud-Brown, Project Lead, Healthy Living/Healthy Communities

Employees, patients and visitors have expressed their frustration about people who light up their cigarette directly in front of our smoke-free signs. Here's what you can do to help support our Smoke-Free Policy.

Fraser Health supports a smoke-free environment at all of our sites. To protect the health of our employees, patients, clients and visitors, all of our buildings, property and parking lots are smoke-free. There are posters at all of our sites that clearly state our Smoke-Free Policy.

But some people still smoke on site.

Employees, patients and visitors have repeatedly expressed their frustration about people who light up their cigarette directly in front of our smoke-free signs. They've told us: “People smoke right underneath the no-smoking signs.” “I have to walk by a cloud of smoke every time I go to work.” “Cigarette butts are everywhere.” “I see staff smoking in the parking lots.”

It’s important to know that enforcement of our smoke-free standard starts with us. There is no one department, program or person responsible for enforcing our Smoke-Free Policy. Our employee survey told us that signs cannot replace direct interaction and engagement through dialogue. If we want to breathe easy outside our doors, on our sidewalks and in our parking lots, we must speak up for smoke-free – it’s a community responsibility.

“To become smoke-free, all Fraser Health employees have a role as champions for this policy,” says Dr. Ingrid Tyler, Medical Health Officer. “We can help our colleagues refrain from smoking on-site 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.”

When we encounter others smoking on our property we can offer the same gentle Smoke-Free Policy reminder. We have a brochure, How to Approach and Talk to People Who Smoke on our FHPulse page (also available fromPrintshop using code #258094). The brochure helps employees approach and address those who are smoking. This resource can be downloaded and shared with your teams.

Though employees are encouraged to approach and talk to those who smoke, we are not obliged to if we are uncomfortable doing so. There are other ways you can help ensure that our sites stay smoke-free:

  • Site leaders have formed smoke-free working groups to initiate smoke-free activities at sites including Peace Arch Hospital. You can join the working group at your site and participate in smoke-free activities such as walkabouts. A walkabout team conducts 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. Check out our Smoke-Free FHPulse page for tips to get started.
  • We have clinical practice tools to help you encourage your patients to abstain from smoking during their hospital stay. In-person training sessions teaching the fundamentals of nicotine withdrawal management and brief tobacco intervention have been offered at all our acute sites. This training and training for direct care providers and non-clinical staff is now available. Check out the brand new Smoke-Free Policy and You Module" available now on CCRS (search: “Smoke Free”). Additional new training modules on clinical smoking cessation intervention and nicotine withdrawal management will soon be available to all staff on CCRS.
  • Also, there are patient brochures about our Smoke-Free Policy: search ‘nicotine’ in the Patient Education Catalogue and place your order there.
  • 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 (NRT) to help manage your cravings while at work. If you are interested in quitting, free support is available from Quitnow.ca and free NRT is available through the 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 FHPulse 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.

Share your own suggestions for ways to support our smoke-free sites in the comments below and inspire someone else to smoke-free success.

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