Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare properties in Bracebridge and Huntsville are less than one month away from become entirely smoke free. Effective June 1, 2016, both hospital properties will become smoke-free grounds. This means smoking and vaping (e-cigarettes) is not allowed anywhere on MAHC property, including all driveways, parking lots, gardens, walkways and forested areas.
A Smoke-Free Grounds Working Group has been working to develop the necessary policies and procedures to support our smoke-free grounds. The policies will apply to anyone on MAHC property, including patients, visitors, staff and other health care providers.
We understand that this change at our hospitals may be difficult for those who smoke and we recognize that changing habits is never easy. We are not telling anyone they can’t smoke. We are informing them where they can and cannot smoke as per the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and our own smoke-free policy, which includes vaping.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy, such as the patch, gum, or inhaler will be a large component of how MAHC will support smokers during their hospital stay with us. An informational brochure will have information for patients, staff and visitors, and maps that show the boundaries of the properties will be available at both sites.
As a health care organization, MAHC has an important role to play in promoting health and wellness in the communities we serve. A smoke-free environment helps to create a healthier and safer place, and encourages and supports both patients and families and staff in making healthy choices.
Smoking cessation resources and incentives are broadly available in our communities for people who want to quit smoking. You can call the Smoker’s Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 or the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Health Connection at 1-877-721-7520 to help connect with the best support for you. As well, many health care providers in the community like Family Health Teams, Nurse Practitioner Clinics and even the Canadian Mental Health Association offer smoking cessation programs.
There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke, and we are looking forward to doing our part to protect our community and all users of the hospital properties with cleaner, healthier air.