Supporting NHS Tayside’s no smoking policy

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l-r locality site/support services manager Shona Leonard, health promotion officer Blair Finlay and programme manager for tobacco Margaret Winton

To support and promote NHS Tayside’s No Smoking Policy, access to the fresh air garden at Ninewells Hospital has been temporarily restricted.

NHS Tayside operates a strict no smoking policy and asks staff, patients and visitors to respect the policy by not smoking on NHS Tayside premises or grounds.

Across Scotland the majority of people do not smoke. Only one in five people now smoke and NHS Tayside’s policy aims to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the people using our services.

NHS Tayside regularly receives complaints from patients, visitors and staff about smokers congregating around entrances, footpaths and seating areas in NHS Tayside grounds.

To help address this, the fresh air garden in Ninewells Hospital has been cordoned off on a temporary basis for four weeks to discourage smoking in that area and to highlight NHS Tayside’s No Smoking Policy to all visitors, patients and staff attending the hospital.

During this four-week period, members of NHS Tayside’s Quit Your Way services have been taking part in ‘walkabouts’ to monitor the area and also offer advice on where people can seek support to refrain from smoking while in hospital grounds.

Consultant in Public Health Andrew Radley said, “Since the temporary cordon was installed, we have already received positive feedback from patients and staff about the smoke-free environment they now experience coming in to the hospital. It is clear that most people that we talk to support our No Smoking Policy and want to be able to use our services without being exposed to second-hand smoke.

“We hope that this temporary closure will help make people more aware of our No Smoking Policy and how they can support it.  As a health promoting organisation, NHS Tayside takes breach of the policy very seriously. We are committed to helping the communities that use our services to lead longer, healthier lives.

“We understand that it can be hard to go without a cigarette, particularly at stressful times, however the NHS exists to make everyone’s health as good as possible.  Keeping our grounds smoke free is to benefit the health of everyone and we thank all smokers for respecting this.”

NHS Tayside’s smoking policy now allows the use of e-cigarettes on NHS Tayside grounds but they remain prohibited in buildings and enclosed spaces.

Later this year, the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc And Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 will make it illegal to smoke within 15 metres of a hospital building. Anyone breaking this law will be liable to receive a fixed penalty notice which can be issued by enforcement officers employed by the Local Authority. Guidance about the new law will be issued by the Scottish Government, including the responsibilities of NHS and Local Authorities and how they will work in partnership to enforce it.

NHS Tayside’s Quit Your Way services provide smoking cessation services and information about support available to NHS staff, patients and members of the public, including the availability of Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Help is also in place for patients that smoke to help them remain smoke free while in hospital.

Giving up smoking is the single most important lifestyle decision that anyone can make to improve their health immediately. Anyone who wants to stop smoking can visit any local community pharmacy or call Quit Your Way on 0845 600 999 6 to find out about all the ways NHS Tayside can help support people to become smoke free.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the free ‘Quit Smoking in 12 weeks’ programme which offers support and free products can also follow our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nhstaysidesmokefree

Health benefits to quitting smoking

  • 20 minutes after quitting your blood pressure and pulse return to normal
  • 48 hours – no nicotine is left in your body. Your senses of taste and smell are greatly improved
  • 72 hours – your breathing becomes easier and your energy levels increase
  • 2-12 weeks after quitting smoking your circulation improves and exercise can be easier
  • 3-9 months – any coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve
  • Within one year the risk of heart attack is halved
  • Within 10 years the risk of lung cancer is halved and the risk of heart attack is at the same level as non-smokers
  • Medium to long term – stopping smoking at any age increases your life expectancy, provided you stop before the onset of serious disease. Even if you have developed a disease, you can benefit from stopping as your body will be under less strain and be able to fight it more easily.

Smoking causes the premature deaths of 13,000 people in Scotland every year and causes 56,000 hospital admissions. It is the single largest preventable cause of ill health and mortality.

‘Second-hand’ smoke or passive smoking is a significant health risk to non-smokers. Passive smoking is calculated to cause:

  • Nearly 1 in 10 of all deaths due to stroke
  • Nearly 1 in 20 of all deaths due to asthma
  • More than 1 in 30 of all deaths due to heart disease
  • More than 1 in 25 of all lung cancers

 

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