Smoking ban at VA facilities has some veterans fuming

The Department of Veterans Affairs is enacting a policy banning smoking on the grounds of all its medical facilities as part of campaign to improve the health of veterans. (Photo by Megan Vanselow/file)
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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) The Department of Veterans Affairs is enacting a policy banning smoking on the grounds of all its medical facilities as part of campaign to improve the health of veterans.

The move goes into effect Tuesday.

It applies to patients, visitors and employees.

Smoking has been banned from inside health care facilities for years, but the ban expands that to include anywhere on medical facility grounds.

Previously, smoking was allowed in smoking shelters.

Supporters argue the ban is long overdue and brings the VA facilities in line with most government facilities the United States where smoking bans are widespread to promote health.

Opponents led by smoking veterans complain the ban represents government overreach and is hypocritical given the significance smoking has played in the military.