VA clinics implement smoke-free policy

Published: Oct. 2, 2019 at 4:06 PM CDT
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For those who utilize services at a VA clinic, new rules bring some changes you should be aware of.

Beginning October 1, VA implemented new smoke-free policies eliminating smoking on the grounds of health care facilities which includes the parking lots.

The new smoke-free policy applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes, vape pens, and e-cigars, but does not include smokeless tobacco.

“We are not alone in recognizing the importance of creating a smoke-free campus,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a statement at

. “As of 2014, 4,000 health care facilities and four national health care systems in the U.S. have implemented smoke-free grounds.”

Officials say the VA offers a number of options for veterans and VA employees to quit smoking.

Tobacco products including vaping devices have been the subject of increased scrutiny lately nationwide.

Several recent deaths have been attributed to vaping, with the flavorings used in the devices being banned in places such as Massachusetts, New York, and Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to ban flavored tobacco products including e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and menthol cigarettes after protests from business owners and advocates of vaping who say e-cigarettes help people quit smoking. The vote came on a second reading after initial approval last week.

Health officials told the board that flavored tobacco products are driving the current vaping "epidemic" among young people.

On September, 13 News spoke to a local vape shop owner who said people need to know and trust vaping product vendors.

"We make this e-liquid here in the store and for us to do that we've had to register every flavor that we've got through the FDA, every nicotine level through the FDA," said James Lacy, Owner of D and J Vapor in Horse Cave. "The FDA has been in here for hours upon hours of time."

Officials in Louisville have issued a public health warning that urges people who use vaping products to stop in the face of a national outbreak of severe lung injuries.

A statement from the Louisville health department says there are 805 cases of lung illness in 46 states and one territory. Kentucky has 20 cases under investigation.

Department of Public Health and Wellness Director Sarah Moyer says "vaping is not safe" whether it is electronic cigarettes or other products.

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