VA Black Hills Health Care System is now tobacco free

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FORT MEADE, S.D. (KEVN) - Starting Wednesday, the VA Black Hills Health Care System campus at Fort Meade and the one in Hot Springs are tobacco free.

VA Black Hills Health Care System in Fort Meade and Hot Springs are both tobacco free as of Tuesday.

Staff members want to provide quality care to veterans, so making the campuses tobacco free is a step in that direction. The change does not affect any ceremonial requirements where tobacco needs to be used. The new policy applies to veterans, vendors, family, and visitors. They plan to enforce this with staff in the near future as well. Since the goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle, the focus is to help others quit tobacco.

"We know that when you put in a new policy or a new initiative it's going to take a while for everybody to understand. Initially our big thing is really education. If the police are out and about, our employees are out and about, we all have a responsibility to remind everybody about the rules on campus," says Sandra Horsman, director of VA Black Hills Health Care System.

Services are available at both campuses to help stop tobacco use. With the new policy staff members are using the opportunity to provide more information on those services.

"One of the difficult things can be that we have so many resources it's how do I pick which one is right for me or how do I even know what's available. So we've come up with just a one page information sheet that has all the different tobacco cessation resources on it," says health behavior coordinator Kelly Tobin.

If you are a veteran who is trying to quit these are some resources you can use.

-Veterans Health Library
- VA Tobacco Quitline 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838)