Smoke free

As health-care providers, we know the burden of smoking - the costs to people and the impact on our health care system. It is because of our commitment to providing a healthy environment for those who receive care, work in and visit our facilities that we are a smoke-free organization.

What does smoke-free mean?

Smoke-free means patients, staff, families and visitors are not permitted to smoke anywhere in the building, on hospital grounds or in parking garages. Those who wish to smoke need to do so off the property. View the site maps with designated property lines:

If staff, patients or residents choose to stop smoking, we offer support and access to treatment options, and a smoke-free environment for people struggling with various stages of tobacco addiction.

Want to quit smoking? You're not alone. Visit Smokers Helpline.

Controlled Smoking Area (CSA)

The only exception to the smoke-free policy is for in-patient veterans in the Western Counties Wing at Parkwood Institute. When the Smoke-Free Ontario Act came into effect in May 2006, veterans who smoke were granted an exemption and were permitted to smoke indoors in a controlled smoking area (CSA). We will continue to honour that exemption by allowing these veterans to continue smoking in the CSA only.

For more information:

Smoke-free policy overview

Download a PDF version of this policy overview

  • The smoke-free policy exceeds the current Smoke-Free Ontario Act and applies to patients, residents, staff, and all those who visit St. Joseph’s’ properties.
  • St. Joseph’s prohibits the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, on all sites, grounds and properties, including parking facilities and all vehicles owned or leased by St. Joseph’s or any vehicle on St. Joseph’s property.
  • Special exemptions, as defined by the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, are considered at the request of an Aboriginal person, for the traditional use of tobacco as part of a spiritual ceremony, i. e., smudging ceremony.
  • The sale of cigarettes, tobacco and tobacco products at St. Joseph’s is prohibited.
  • St. Joseph’s offers education and supports for patients, staff and volunteers who wish to reduce or stop their use of tobacco products.
  • Failure to comply with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (any area within the hospital building and within 9 metres of any entrance or exit) while on St. Joseph’s property may result in fines as issued by a Middlesex-London Health Unit Tobacco Enforcement Officer.
  • Failure to comply with St. Joseph’s smoke-free policy will result in disciplinary action by hospital staff and security.
  • Every St. Joseph’s staff member has a responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all.

Frequently asked questions

Why is St. Joseph’s a smoke-free organization?

St. Joseph’s is committed to providing a smoke-free, safe and healthy environment for those who receive care, work in or visit our facilities.

What does this mean for patients/residents, staff and visitors?

Patients/residents, staff, families and visitors are not permitted to smoke anywhere in the building, on the grounds or in the parking garage. Those who wish to smoke need to do so off-site. It is important for us to give staff and patients/residents the choice and support to stop smoking, and that our facilities provide a non-triggering environment for people working through the various stages of tobacco addiction and nicotine withdrawal.

We are committed to providing the best support possible for staff and residents during this transition.

What kind of support is available for patients/residents who wish to manage or quit their smoking habits?

For patients/residents, there is individualized clinical assessment, management and, if chosen, smoking cessation supports that are available.

Please contact your care provider directly for more information on smoking cessation support.

Where can staff, patients/residents and visitors go to smoke?

Anyone who wishes to smoke will need to do so off hospital property.

Who can I contact if I have a concern or would like more information on smoke-free initiatives at St. Joseph’s?

If you have any questions please contact Patient Relations.

Learn more:


Download Electronic Cigarettes information in PDF format

What is an electronic cigarette?

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), shaped in most cases to look like a conventional cigarette, are used to simulate the act of smoking. They produce a visible vapour similar in appearance to cigarette smoke and the end of the device may glow like a cigarette.

Typically, an electronic cigarette consists of a cartridge, an atomizer and a battery. Users inhale in a similar manner to how they would use a conventional cigarette and exhale a vapour solution that resembles smoke. 

What are the health risks? 

Research on e-cigarettes and their potential health risk is still in its early stages. To date there has been no substantial data published on the long-term side effects of e-cigarette usage or the potential effects for others who may be exposed to the vapour.

Are they legal? 

There are a broad range of products available, but currently no regulations or standards for production exist. According to Health Canada, the sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is illegal. It is also illegal in Canada to make any health claims about e-cigarettes, including their suggested use as a smoking cessation aide.

What is St. Joseph’s policy on e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are not permitted on hospital property, including parking garages.

Where can I find more information?

For more information, learn about the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s position on e-cigarettes.