An anti-smoking organisation has backed a campaign to ban smokingon all NHS property.
The bid, by Public Health England, is for a “tobacco-free NHS” with more support on quitting offered to patients, visitors and staff.
Many hospitals already have “smoke-free” rules in their grounds but some patients, visitors and staff flout them.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said he wants every hospital’s grounds to be completely smoke free areas.
He said: “I believe we can make the NHS a place that provides a supportive tobacco-free environment for patients, staff and visitors, where helping people quit is fully integrated into their treatment.”
North East based anti-smoking group Fresh, which works to tackle the worst rates of smoking in the UK, has welcomed the call.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “We hugely welcome calls for the NHS to do all it can to help more smokers to quit. “Smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable illness and premature death in England and is the reason for nearly half a million hospital appointments in the NHS every year.
“This is about far more than smoking in hospital grounds. This is about recognising that smoking is tobacco dependence and that stopping smoking is the treatment for this.”
She added: “Here in the North East we have seen some brilliant examples of the NHS working to reduce smoking during pregnancy and among people with mental health problems, and we are working with Trusts to look at how we can implement best practice across the system.”
The campaign has attracted a great deal of support from the South Tyneside community on social media, with many calling for a total ban.
On Facebook Gazette readers called for smoking to be banned entirely, saying that smoking on the grounds was “absolutely awful.”
One reader who was in favour of the ban said: “Most definitely. It’s disgusting even having to walk through it.”
Tobacco is the single biggest cause of premature death in England, costing the NHS an estimated £2 billion every year and another £1.1 billion in social care, according to PHE.
Around seven million adults in England smoke and for every death caused by smoking there are around 20 suffering from diseases.
Do you agree with the call for a smoking ban? Share your views on our poll: https://www.playbuzz.com/garywelford10/poll-should-smoking-be-banned-in-all-nhs-buildings-and-grounds
WHAT YOU SAY
Here is what some Gazette readers had to say on imposing a smoking ban:
Sarah Dale said: “Yes! Absolutely awful having to take my son to the hospital for check ups and having to walk through a crowd of smokers to get there.”
Becca Sheppard commented: “Walking out of maternity with your newborn into someone’s smoke...vile!”
David Givens commented: “Ban smoking in public places completely.
“Horrible to have some selfish smoker forcing their poison on everyone else.”
Tonia Kaid Mckie added: “Years ago I would have said yes, but now I have a nana who is 93 and her doctor said If she stopped now it could be detrimental to her health.
“So I think there needs to be a place for smokers away from entrances and exits.”
Heather Richardson added: “Most definitely. It’s disgusting even having to walk through it. “Same as walking through a cloud of smoke outside of pubs.
“Its awful and smokers always insist in standing right outside the doors.”
Donna Whyte said: “Yes I hate taking my daughter to the hospital and being forced to walk through people smoking at the entrance as they can’t be bothered to go to the shelter provided.”
Gail Stephenson commented: “Nope hospitals are stressful to start with, so if a smoker needs one they should be entitled to, instead of having to walk down that horrendous bank for a tab.”
Joanne Dry added: “No! It is getting to be the case in this country that your frightened to light up your cigarette outside incase somebody is jumping all over you for doing so. “Why should smokers be ostracised! They should never have done away with the smoking room.”
Alice Lilyanne Smith said: “No, because it’s basically taking away your right to choose as a person, just because you’re in hospital. At the end of the day people should have a right to choose.”