Smoking and tobacco reduction

Are you a 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 tobacco?

  • 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 percent of smokers die from smoking related diseases
  • Other reasons for quitting

“Tobacco use” is the use of commercial tobacco products like cigarettes and 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 tobacco products. Use the links and resources to start your journey to become smoke free.

Are you a 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.

Stop smoking before surgery

Why is it important to stop smoking before surgery?

  • Reduces the risk of complications
  • Provides incentive to stop smoking
  • Presents an opportunity to provide smoking cessation counselling
  • Potentially stay tobacco free post surgery

A smoking cessation program prior to surgery aligns with:

  • Northern Health's efforts to expand hospital-based smoking cessation services
  • BC Ministry of Health’s recent initiative to provide smoking cessation aids (i.e., low-cost prescription ChampixTM or ZybanTM or free nicotine gum or patch)

The Stop Smoking Before Surgery initiative is a new program to strengthen cancer prevention strategies in northern B.C. and includes partners from the Canadian Cancer Society, the BC Cancer Agency, and Northern Health along with researchers at the University of British Columbia.

Northern Health's CEO, Cathy Ulrich, highlights Stop Smoking Before Surgery.


Vapour products
  • Vaping Prevention Toolkit: Information for parents and teachers that includes a power point presentation, posters and FAQ sheet.
  • What is Vaping: Health Link BC health addressing this topic which includes links to other resources.
  • About Vaping: Health Canada’s page discusses the mechanics of vaping as well as information on talking with your teens about vaping.
  • Vaping Awareness: Recorded Presentation.
  • Youth and Vaping: Drug Free Kids Canada

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 tobacco, marijuana 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 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 tobacco use at every hospital and clinic visit, advised to quit and linked to tobacco cessation services.

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 tobacco use upon admission to Northern Health facilities.

If the patient has used 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 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 tobacco and vapour consumption.