NHS Grampian have announced that, in tune with the rest of the NHS in Scotland, all their healthcare sites and grounds throughout the North-east will be smoke-free by the end of March 2015.
From then, staff, patients and visitors are asked to wait until they are off NHS grounds before lighting up. Smoking shelters will also be removed from hospital grounds.
Tobacco Control Coordinator, Derek Petrie said, “This will improve the health of the population in Grampian. People who smoke are asked to use a safe, medically regulated form of nicotine while visiting or working our sites. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products are cheaper than cigarettes and are freely available in community pharmacies and supermarkets.
“We realise that for regular smokers this may be a challenge, but it’s important to see the policy in its true context. Smoking kills 13,000 Scots every year. One thousand of these will be in Grampian where there will be around 5000 smoking related hospital admissions with a potential annual cost of £46 million – that’s preventable, so the NHS must lead by example.”
This move to achieve smoke-free status in the grounds of every hospital, health centre and NHS building across the country is part of a national drive to create a tobacco free generation within Scotland by 2034.
“It sounds ambitious but is achievable, 91 per cent of 13 year olds living in Grampian now have never smoked, they will be adults in 2034. Measures like this smoking ban will prevent them from starting and we know exactly how much this will improve health. In each year that we reduce smoking by 1 per cent there will be 46 fewer deaths, 218 fewer hospital admissions and health costs reduce by around 2.1 million.”
NHS Grampian say that the national Green Curtain TV and radio campaign has now been launched asking smokers for their help to make this vision a reality.
NHS Staff also have a key role to play in achieving this by supporting patients and colleagues who smoke to access smoking cessation advice and support to either help them quit altogether or at least manage their nicotine use whilst on NHS grounds.
Mr Petrie added, “NHS Grampian will maintain its focus, exercising its duty of care and promoting health for those who use and work in its services.”