Campaigners claim a total NHS smoking ban discriminates against infirm smokers - should we care?


If we were to report that hospitals were considering a move to limit the maximum booze allowance to four double whiskeys and a six pack of lager per patient, the question wouldn’t be ‘isn’t that an infringement of people’s right to drink’, but ‘what is a hospital doing allowing patients to drink in the first place?’

Alcohol is, we’re pleased to say, banned from the grounds of the NHS.

So how come smoking within the grounds of NHS buildings is seen as acceptable?

Tobacco is the biggest cause of premature death in England making it reason enough, you would think, for a ban.

But the health problems caused by smoking also cost the NHS £2billion every year.

How can the health service warn of the dangers of smoking while, at the same time, offer purpose-built shelters and designated areas to allow people to do the very thing that is draining its resources?

It’s a classic case of people demanding rights, but forgoing responsibility.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ campaign group Forest, believes a ban would be a ‘gross over-reaction’, claiming it discriminates against those who are physically infirm or in wheelchairs as they would have to travel further to enjoy a smoke. He may well have a point.

Except smoking is often what puts many in a wheelchair and causes others serious health problems.

If the ban inconveniences those who cost the NHS millions of pounds every year, then it’s a price worth paying.

Our readers agree. An online poll saw 79% backing the Public Health England call for a ban.

Smoking on NHS grounds need to be stubbed out for the good of our health and wealth.