Smoking and commercial tobacco reduction

Are you a commercial tobacco user? Did you know one of the best ways to improve your health and the health of those around you is to quit using commercial tobacco?

  • Commercial tobacco use is linked to multiple health issues such as cancer, heart attack and coronary artery disease
  • In BC, smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease
  • It’s estimated that 50 per cent of smokers die from smoking related diseases
  • Other reasons for quitting

The term commercial tobacco refers to products such as cigarettes, cigars and smokeless or chewing tobacco. If you’d like to learn about traditional uses of tobacco visit the respecting tobacco page on the First Nations Health Authority website.

Make the decision to stop using commercial tobacco products. Use the links and resources to start your journey to become smoke free.

Are you a commercial tobacco or vaping product retailer? Please see the Northern Health's tobacco and vapour enforcement page or call the Health Protection Central Line at 1-250-565-7322.

Ready to quit?

These programs can help you quit or limit your commercial tobacco or vapour use


Thinking about quitting

Helping friends and family

Second and third-hand smoke

Stop smoking before surgery

Stopping smoking or smoking fewer cigarettes can make surgery safer and help you get better faster. Try not to smoke for at least 4 weeks before surgery. The sooner you stop, the better. Every minute you are not smoking can make a difference.

How does stopping smoking before surgery help?

  • Your immune system will work better. Your risk of getting a wound infection is lower
  • Your wounds will heal faster because there is more oxygen and nutrients in your body
  • You will have better breathing, blood pressure and heart rate
  • You will have less risk of getting lung and chest infections
  • You may go home sooner

Where can I get more help?

  • Talk to your Primary Care Provider (Physician or Nurse Practitioner) 
  • Register with the BC Smoking Cessation Program to get free nicotine replacement therapy 
  • Use Quitnow for free behavioural counselling support
  • Use Talk Tobacco for free Indigenous quit smoking support

E-cigarette and vapour products

What about cannabis?

No smoking signs for municipalities

You can find no smoking signage for municipal governments at the BC Lung Foundation’s website. Just visit their no smoking signage page and search "general".

They also provide examples of regional signage online. If municipalities need help with regional signage, they can email for assistance.


Northern Health tobacco reduction policies

Smoke free grounds

NH is a smoke-free organization. Even in outdoor spaces smoke and vapour is harmful to others.

Smoking of commercial tobacco, cannabis, or any other substances is prohibited in or on all NH owned and/or operated premises, facilities, grounds, and corporately owned or leased vehicles.

The use of vapour dispensing devices (also known as e-cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, vapes, vaporizers or electronic nicotine delivery devices) is prohibited in or on all NH owned and / or operated premises, facilities, grounds, and corporately owned or leased vehicles.

  • Please protect others from smoke and vapour
  • Consider using nicotine patches, gum, lozenges or inhalers to manage your cravings instead of smoking on NH grounds
  • Consider leaving the perimeter of NH grounds while smoking or vaping

Protect our patients, their family and friends, and staff from smoke and vapour.

Northern Health supports cultural and ceremonial use of smoke, tobacco and other legal sacred plants and recognizes that the benefits of traditional and spiritual uses can outweigh the potential harms. There is a difference between tobacco misuse and traditional tobacco use. Cultural, spiritual, and ceremonial uses of smoke, tobacco and other legal sacred plants within NH facilities will be facilitated in respectful, culturally safe, and supportive ways.

Where can people smoke?

People who wish to smoke must leave Northern Health grounds.

E-cigarettes don’t produce real smoke. Why are they included?

While e-cigarettes do not produce smoke, they do produce a vapour that is inhaled by people using them and by those around them. The vapour contains a variety of chemical components depending on the particular products being used. The safety and long-term effects of inhaling e-cigarette vapour have not been established.

Are you concerned about your health because you use commercial tobacco?

For help quitting smoking visit or call Health Link 8-1-1

Access information and FREE nicotine patches, gum, lozenges or inhalers through the BC Smoking Cessation program. Visit your pharmacy to access these products. You may be eligible for assistance to purchase smoking cessation medications.

Addressing tobacco using the 3A’s approach
  • Ask
  • Advise
  • Assist

All patients will be asked about commercial tobacco use at every hospital and clinic visit, advised to quit and linked to tobacco cessation services.

Commercial tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death and it is important to encourage tobacco users to quit.

If you are interested in quitting smoking visit or call 1-877-455-2233

Nicotine withdrawal protocol

All patients will be assessed for commercial tobacco use upon admission to Northern Health facilities.

If the patient has used commercial tobacco in the last 7 days or may be experiencing nicotine withdrawal, nicotine replacement therapy will be offered to provide comfort and reduce cravings.

When patients go home they can access Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy through the BC Smoking Cessation program.


Northern Health’s (NH) Tobacco Reduction program aims to be pro-active in preventing people from initiating commercial tobacco and vapour product use. NH strives to protect residents, patients, physicians and staff from the harmful effects of second hand smoke and vapour; and link those to provincial resources who wish to quit or limit their commercial tobacco and vapour consumption.

Contact us

Lindsay Willoner
Regional Nursing Lead - Cannabis & Tobacco Reduction
Population & Preventative Public Health

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