Hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester are now smokefree zones.
In a move that will help to make sure that patients, visitors and staff are not exposed to cigarette smoke on their way into and out of hospital, no smoking is allowed on the grounds of any of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s sites
Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, which runs Andover War Memorial Hospital, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, said: “Going smokefree is a step we have taken as part of our commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of our staff, our patients and visitors to our hospitals.
“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.”
Holly Evans, an airways disease physiotherapist in the Trust’s respiratory team, has first-hand experience of both the problems that smoking gives patients and the effect that passive smoking can have on non-smokers with breathing problems.
She said: “I fully support the Trust’s smokefree policy because it is important that we promote good respiratory health for our patients, visitors and staff.
“Being smokefree reinforces the smoking cessation message that we give to our patients who smoke every day. It is also better for patients with respiratory problems that are not related to smoking, because breathing in somebody else’s smoke can be a real issue for them.”
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
Hampshire Hospitals’ policy supports a commitment to smokefree sites made in the NHS Five Year Forward View and is something that Public Health England also endorses. Vapes and e-cigarettes are still allowed to be used in outdoor spaces on the hospital sites, away from entrances and windows.
Alex Whitfield added: “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 are providing lots of additional support to help patients, visitors and staff to stop smoking, including stocking nicotine replacement therapy products in our outpatient pharmacies, so we hope that this initiative will also help to reduce smoking.
“We have chosen to go smokefree on October 1 to coincide with the start of Stoptober, Public Health England’s annual stop smoking event. We highly recommend the Smokefree Hampshire service for smokers who would like some help to give up. Visit www.smokefreehampshire.com for more information.”