Smokers urged to help make Lanarkshire’s hospital grounds smoke free

Written by Eddie Docherty.
Published at 15:12 on 11 July 2014.
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NHS Lanarkshire is calling on those who smoke at hospital entrances to show they care by taking their smoking elsewhere.

The plea comes as the health board gets set to remind everyone about its policy which bans smoking on NHS Lanarkshire grounds, and it is appealing to smokers to cease from smoking on grounds – particularly around hospital entrances – to help improve the environment for staff, patients and the public.

The appeal follows a survey which NHS Lanarkshire undertook to measure the level of support and awareness of its policy.

Among the findings, was overwhelming support for smoke free hospital entrances with 98 per cent of staff, 94 per cent of the public and patients and even 89 per cent of smokers all in agreement with this.

It has led to the health board now asking those who do light up around entrances, to please have their cigarette before they enter hospital grounds or, if leaving the hospital, to delay lighting up by just a few minutes until they’re away from the entrance and off the grounds.

NHS Lanarkshire director of acute services Alan Lawrie said: “This is not about lecturing smokers to stop, we’re well aware that not all are ready to try a quit attempt at this point.

“But what we are saying to them is if you need to smoke, can you please have it away from entrances and off the grounds as taking such a simple step will be greatly welcomed by our staff, patients and the public.

“As our survey has highlighted, a majority of smokers agree that this is a reasonable thing to do and over half of them said they would not smoke on hospital grounds.

“We’d love if all smokers were considerate in this way.”

The Scottish Government has instructed all health boards and local authorities that they must have policies and measures in place to ensure their grounds are smoke free by April 2015.

Smoking on hospital grounds is also an issue which NHS Lanarkshire gets frequent complaints about and the health board wants to appeal to smokers’ better nature to help it address this.

Dr Harpreet Kohli, director of public health, said: “We know smokers don’t smoke to annoy other people, it’s because they have an addiction and we understand that.

“This is about asking the minority of smokers who do smoke on our grounds, to join the majority and show they care about the hospital environment.

“We’re confident that once they hear the case for not smoking on grounds and around entrances, it’s one they’ll understand and respect.”

If you would like advice on smoking cessation, the NHS Lanarkshire Stop Smoking Service is available to all staff and patients on 08452 17 77 07 or text ‘advice’ to 81066.
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