FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The VA is banning tobacco products at its facility in Northeast Indiana.
Diana West, who is the wife of a Navy veteran, worries the ban will take away one of the few pleasures a patient might have left.
"They need that and they could walk away and not seek any help at all. That would not be a good thing for them," she said.
The VA said it brings the facilities in line with bans already in place at 4,000 medical facilities and four national health care systems making their grounds smoke-free, but after fighting in warfare, West said it should be a choice.
"That's all they have sometimes," West added.
An Air Force Vietnam veteran who asked not to be named sees both sides.
"I don't believe anybody should be allowed to smoke in a hospital to begin with. I'm a smoker myself. I'm trying to quit. I think they should have a place for smokers to go because it is still their right. Most of the smokers smoked in the military," he explained.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a third of veterans smoke.
Many were introduced to the habit while serving.
The VA believes they can help people beat the habit gaining a healthier lifestyle.
The VA Northern Indiana Healthcare System released this statement to FOX 55:
“Veteran Heath Administration and VA Northern Indiana Heath Care System (VANIHCS) have joined the 4,000 health care facilities in the U.S. that have implemented fully smoke-free grounds. Staring October 1, 2019, the use of tobacco products will no longer be permitted on VANIHCS property for Patients, Visitors, Volunteers, Contractors, and Employees. The new tobacco-free policy will apply to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes, other electronic nicotine delivery devices.
Sufficient evidence proves smoking and exposure to second and third hand smoke create significant medical risks. VANIHCS understands this change will not be easy for everyone but we are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for everyone at our facility. The Veteran Health Administration offers a variety of tobacco cessation treatment services for Veterans and employees. Veterans may call the VA Quit Line at 1-855-QUIT-VET or go to www.smokefree.gov/veterans”
The new tobacco free policy will apply to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes, other electronic nicotine delivery devices.