Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) met with veterans at the Wilmington VA Medical Center on the first day VA Health Care Facilities around the nation are going smoke-free.
The VA implemented two new policies eliminating smoking on the grounds of health care facilities by patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors, vendors and employees by October 1, 2019. These new policies allow VA to ensure the health and wellness of patients, VA staff and the public. The new smoke-free policy applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, any other combustion of tobacco, and e-cigarettes, vape pens and e-cigars.
According to a Center for Disease Control Study released in 2018, about three in 10 U.S. military veterans used some form of tobacco product between 2010 and 2015. Tobacco product use was higher among veterans than among non-veterans for males and females across all age groups, except males ages 50 years and older.
“Tobacco is one of the most harmful products sold legally in the United States, in terms of both health care dollars and lives lost,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper, a 23-year veteran of the Navy. “I am proud that the VA has moved to eliminate smoking on its health care facility grounds. It’s a common sense step that will help improve the level of care for our veterans and lower health care costs in our country.”