WASHINGTON, D.C. (KFVS) - Several U.S. Senators, including Sen. Dick Durbin, and U.S. Representatives have introduced a bill which would ban smoking at all U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities.
The legislation was introduced Thursday, July 11.
The VA reportedly supports the measure which would mirror smoke-free policies at health care and federal facilities nationwide.
According to Sen. Durbin’s office, the bill would repeal a 1992 law which requires the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to furnish and maintain designated indoor or outdoor smoking areas.
In addition to the health concerns, the VA reports it cost more than $1.2 million annually to maintain smoking areas.
Sen. Durbin’s office reports the VHA has a directive to institute a smoke-free policy by October 1, 2019. However, Congressional action is still necessary to repeal the 1992 law.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
The legislation is supported by multiple medical and health organizations.