NHS hospital cigarette ban up in smoke

Another smoker flouts the don't light up rules at Forth Valley Royal Hospital
Picture: Michael Gillen
Another smoker flouts the don't light up rules at Forth Valley Royal Hospital Picture: Michael Gillen

Smokers are refusing to stub out cigarettes in the grounds of the acute hospital in Larbert.

Despite a no-smoking policy on all NHS Forth Valley’s hospital sites and a number of measures in place to deter patients and visitors, many are ignoring the ban.

Last year, all hospital and health centre grounds in Scotland became smoke free. However, it is currently not an offence to smoke outside a hospital, although legislation is being considered by the Scottish Government.

Dr Graham Foster, NHS Forth Valley’s director of public health, said: “It’s very disappointing that, despite ongoing efforts to prevent smoking outside our hospitals, a number of people continue to light up.

“This creates an unpleasant and unhealthy environment for patients, many of whom are seriously ill. It also means that staff and visitors sometimes have to walk through clouds of smoke and it generates additional work for our cleaners who have to sweep up the ash and cigarette ends left behind.”

The health authority has appointed a smoking cessation control officer who carries out patrols and placed prominent no-smoking signage across the Forth Valley Royal Hospital site. Smoke detectors have also been installed at main entrances which play an audio message asking people to stop smoking.

Dr Foster added: “I would urge those who smoke to please respect the health and wellbeing of others, especially patients and children, and wait until they are outside the hospital grounds before they light up.

For a smoker the single most important thing you can do for your health is to give up smoking.”

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of ASH Scotland, “Tobacco is a major cause of people being in hospital in the first place, and for many people, smoking will make their recovery slower and interfere with their healing and treatment. Breathing in tobacco smoke is also harmful to health.

“It is no surprise that the health service in Scotland is working hard to go smoke-free throughout its hospital grounds as well as in buildings. There is a need to support smokers not to smoke on hospital premises, and there are compelling arguments for moving towards smoke-free health service grounds as part of the aim of putting cigarettes and tobacco out of sight, out of mind, and out of fashion for the next generation.”