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Coalition supports making VA facilities smoke free

June 18, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The ADA and more than 50 stakeholders are supporting legislation to make facilities of the Veterans Health Administration completely smoke free.

In June 7 letters to the House and Senate, the coalition thanked lawmakers for introducing bipartisan legislation that includes banning most forms of tobacco under the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year, and the scientific evidence on the health risks associated with secondhand smoke is clear, convincing and overwhelming,” the coalition said.

Because the U.S. surgeon general has determined “there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” the coalition said sick and disabled veterans should not be subjected to secondhand smoke in order to receive medical care.

The groups noted that in 2019 the Veterans Health Administration determined that exposure to secondhand smoke creates “unacceptable medical risks” and issued directives to make all VHA facilities smoke free effective by Oct. 1, 2019.

“Your legislation gives this directive the force of law and will protect current and future generations of veterans from the risks of secondhand smoke when they seek care at a VHA facility,” the letter concluded.

For more information on the ADA’s advocacy efforts on tobacco, visit ADA.org/tobacco.