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NH Veterans Home residents are adjusting to no-smoking policy

TILTON – The new no-smoking policy at the New Hampshire Veterans Home has most residents pleased, according to home officials, though some veterans are still allowed to smoke outside.

Commandant Margaret LaBrecque said residents were notified of the change in July of 2012, giving them a year's notice of the change.

New applicants to the home will not be accepted if they are smokers, LaBrecque said. In addition, all employees were told they would have to stop smoking on the home's grounds.

Of the home's nearly 200 residents, nine are still smoking and have been "grandfathered" to allow them to smoke outside in a small covered area, she said.

"They've expressed some worry about the cold this winter, and we are concerned about that, too," she said.

The home decided to end smoking on its campus after home officials learned of incidents at other health-care facilities in the country in which people have died or been seriously injured while smoking near oxygen or other flammable medical equipment.

"We thought it best to do something given the tragedies that have occurred," she said.

There were 10 holdout smokers, but one has quit since the policy was officially implemented on July 1, LaBrecque said.


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