Frequently Asked Questions

Information for patients, families and visitors

What is the Smoke Free NYGH Policy?

North York General Hospital (NYGH) has taken an important step towards preserving the health of its patients, visitors, staff, physicians, volunteers and community by becoming 100% smoke free. Smoking will not be permitted on hospital grounds, at any NYGH site.

Why is NYGH going smoke free?

North York General is committed to providing a safe, healthy and welcoming environment for patients, visitors, staff, physicians and volunteers. Eliminating smoke from all NYGH properties ensures people who work, receive care and visit North York General will not encounter second-hand smoke, as there is very strong evidence to show that breathing second-hand smoke is harmful to health.

We want to provide the best care to our patients. Smoking is the most avoidable cause of illness and premature death. Smoking increases your chances of having complications before and after receiving anesthetic and it results in higher wound and respiratory infection rates, increasing your chance of both staying in the hospital longer and having to be re-admitted after discharge.

How is this Patient- and Family-Centred Care?

Statistics show that 80% of the general population is non-smokers, and of the 20% who are smokers, 75-80% would like to quit. As a health care organization, it is our duty to model the behaviours we encourage our patients to follow. We have chosen to respect the wishes of the majority. Many alternatives to tobacco will be offered to our patients while they are in hospital and information will be clearly posted on hospital grounds.

Isn't it my right to smoke if I want to?

NYGH has the responsibility to establish regulations to ensure a safe and healthy environment for everyone. Our smoke-free policy is not asking anyone to quit; it is just asking people to respect our decision to be smoke free and not smoke on the property.

Where will we be allowed to smoke?

All patients, visitors, staff, physicians, and volunteers who wish to smoke must leave hospital property to do so. Smoking is currently permitted on public sidewalks. Nicotine replacement therapy will be available for both staff and inpatients to help manage their nicotine withdrawal while at work or during their hospital stay. If they wish to smoke despite the supports in place, they will be allowed to smoke just outside the hospital property lines which include adjacent streets and other public areas. Note that smoking is not permitted on the grounds behind the hospital, as the property lines extend to the water line.

Can I smoke in my car?

Anyone wishing to smoke must leave hospital property; this includes the parking lots.

What about 4000 Leslie
/ Branson ACC / Seniors' Health Centre?

Anyone wishing to smoke will have to leave hospital property. This includes 4000 Leslie, Branson Ambulatory Care Centre and Seniors' Health Centre. Long-term care patients/residents at Seniors' Health Centre will still be permitted to smoke on the premises.

Do patients have to leave hospital property to smoke?

Yes. All patients, visitors, staff, physicians, volunteers and students must leave the premises if they wish to smoke. Smoking is not permitted anywhere at any time on NYGH property. For inpatients who normally smoke and do not want to leave hospital property, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is available free of charge to help them feel more comfortable. NRT comes in many forms, including the patch, gum, lozenges and inhaler. If a patient declines NRT and wishes to smoke, they will have to leave hospital property. Any patient leaving the nursing unit during their stay must inform their nurse.

What support is available?

For the comfort of inpatients who smoke and cannot do so while receiving care, or for those who prefer not to leave hospital property to smoke, NYGH offers free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and counseling as part of its inpatient care program. NRT is available in several forms including the patch, gum, lozenge and inhaler. If you are interested in NRT, please inform your nurse or care provider.

As an inpatient, can NYGH help me quit smoking during my stay?

Inpatients who want to quit smoking during their hospital stay can speak to a nurse about NYGH's Inpatient Smoking Cessation Support Program.

To enhance the comfort of your stay at North York General, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) will be provided to inpatients (admitted to a hospital bed) during your hospital stay as prescribed by your physician. If your admission is for an elective procedure, talk to your doctor about this before coming to the hospital. Your doctor can prescribe medications that will assist you during your hospital stay. Your local pharmacist is also a source of valuable information as some smoking withdrawal medications are available over the counter.

If you are admitted for a non-elective reason, your nurse will talk to you about your smoking pattern when you are admitted. The nurse will tell you about free medications that can be prescribed while you are in hospital to manage smoking withdrawal symptoms. These include the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge or inhaler.

Upon discharge, patients can connect with Smokers' Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 to get further smoking cessation support free of charge or contact their doctor for more information.

As an outpatient, am I eligible for free Nicotine Replacement Therapy?

Unfortunately, we can only offer Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to patients while they are admitted to a hospital bed. NRT products are available for purchase in our Outpatient Pharmacy.

If I have questions about North York General's Smoke Free Initiative, who can I contact?

Your questions and comments are important to us. To ensure we provide both physical and emotional support during this transition, we invite you to email us with your questions and suggestions. All inquiries can be directed to smokefree@nygh.on.ca and your concern will be directed to the appropriate department.