CT Department of Veteran Affairs Cancels Scheduled Smoking Ban

By Tara Joyce
|  Thursday, May 29, 2014  |  Updated 7:50 PM EDT
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CT Department of Veteran Affairs Cancels Scheduled Smoking Ban

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 02: A model holds a lit cigarette backstage ahead of the Mens Show on day three of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia Spring/Summer 2012/13 at Overseas Passenger Terminal on May 2, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

Light up all you want — the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs has announced a campus-wide, tobacco-free policy set to start June 1, will no longer take effect.

The idea was first presented in a 2012 letter from CT DVA Commissioner Linda Schwartz. In that letter, Schwartz describes the policy as a way to “promote a culture of healthier living.” It was a small portion of a “go green” strategy aimed at helping veterans kick the habit.

At State Veterans’ Home in Rocky Hill, some smokers decided to push back.

“No matter how much they insist on us giving up cigarettes, we wouldn’t do that anyway,” says Navy veteran Robert Devine. “We fought hard to get our rights, why should we give them up?”

Today the DVA again declared veteran’s health a top priority, but says due to opposition, the policy will not change.

“It wouldn’t have made a heck of a difference. Most of us are set in our ways,” says Devine.

In a statement the DVA says the veterans residing and hospitalized have agreed to “smoke within designated areas outside of the buildings, on campus grounds, one of which would be the outside gazebo located outside the chronic disease hospital.”

The DVA says they will continue to comply with state law that prohibits smoking within state buildings. They will also continue to offer smoke cessation programs to all veterans wishing to quit.

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