LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) — Smoking is no longer permitted in designated shelters on the grounds of VA medical facilities.

VA medical centers and community clinics nationwide on Tuesday implemented a policy that bans smoking anywhere on the grounds.

VA officialsa said there is growing evidence that smoking and exposure to smoke creates significant medical risks for patients’ health and welfare, as well as their safety.

At the Lebanon VA Medical Center, the smoke-free policy applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, any other combustion of tobacco, smokeless tobacco and non-FDA approved electronic nicotine delivery systems, including electronic or e-cigarettes, vape pens or e-cigars.

“Our smoke-free policy is similar to other local health care facilities’ initiatives,” said Robert Callahan Jr., director of the Lebanon VA Medical Center. “As Central Pennsylvania’s only health care provider serving solely veterans, we want to promote a healthy lifestyle to all who visit our campus. We’re providing comprehensive resources for our employees and veterans who want to quit smoking.”