Smoking sign.jpgHampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is taking positive action to make sure that patients and visitors are not exposed to cigarette smoke on their way into and out of hospital.

From October 1, the Trust, which runs Andover War Memorial Hospital, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, will become completely smoke-free, with no smoking allowed on site.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, said: “Going smoke-free will mean a more pleasant and safe environment for everyone who uses or works in our hospitals and it is a step we are taking as part of our commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of our staff, patients and visitors.

“It will protect people, particularly vulnerable patients such as newborn babies and people with respiratory problems, from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke on the way into and out of our hospitals.

“As a major employer and provider of hospital services to people across Hampshire, we have a responsibility to help reduce smoking and, in turn, the serious illnesses related to it. We will be providing lots of additional support to help people stop smoking as part of the programme, so we hope that this initiative will also help to reduce smoking.

“Our drive to become smoke-free coincides with the start of Stoptober, Public Health England’s annual stop smoking event. We highly recommend the Quit4Life service for smokers who would like some help to give up. The service has helped 2,860 Hampshire residents to stop smoking in the last year. Visit for more information.”

Smoking costs the NHS an estimated £2billion a year, but the cost to society could be as much as £13.8billion each year. It also causes almost 80,000 premature deaths every year, and contributes to 1.7million hospital admissions.