NHS told to ban smoking near hospitals

Staff should be told not to help patients out of bed when they want to smoke

NHS hospitals have been advised to ban smoking on their premises and prohibit staff from facilitating patients who want to smoke, according to new guidance.

All hospitals should have an on-site stop-smoking service and staff should be instructed not to assist patients who want to smoke.

Measures should be implemented to help patients stop smoking while they are being cared for and “preferably help them to stop for good”, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said.

While individual NHS trusts will have the final say, staff and people using NHS services, including clinics, should be told not to smoke on the hospital grounds, Nice said.

Trusts should ensure “there are no designated smoking areas, no exceptions for particular groups and no staff-supervised or staff-facilitated smoking breaks for people using secondary care services”.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at Nice, described the guidance as a “culture shift” as opposed to creating a "penal culture" and said it is needed to end “the terrible spectacle of people on drips in hospital gowns smoking outside hospital entrances”.

“It's clearly absurd that the most lethal set of toxins to the human body are being passively encouraged in hospitals”, he said.

“We've known since the 1950s that smoking kills you and 61 years have passed and we're now tackling the problem in hospitals. That's too long.

“Smoking is the most important health problem facing the NHS. It's the leading cause of premature death in England: nearly 80,000 lives are lost each year due to smoking."

Figures released by Nice suggest continuing to smoke throughout pregnancy has contributed to up to 5,000 miscarriages and still-births and increases the risk of a premature labour.

The figures also show patients with mental health issues are more likely to smoke. One in five people in the general population smoke, but this figure rises to one in three among people who have long-term mental health issues. Seventy per cent of patients in psychiatric units smoke.

Professor Sue Bailey, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “There is a common but mistaken belief among some mental health professionals that it's all right for patients in their care to smoke.

”This is wrong. Patients with mental health problems are far more likely to smoke than the general population, they suffer disproportionately higher rates of physical illnesses and they die earlier."

Dr Keith McNeil, chief executive of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is backing the initiative and said smoking will not be allowed anywhere on its grounds from the New Year.

He said: "I have spent a large part of my professional life dealing with the terrible effects of smoking: deaths from cancer, emphysema and lung transplantation. As well as this, smoking costs the NHS and society billions of pounds each year.

“As a leading healthcare organisation we should be encouraging a healthy lifestyle, and smoking is not part of that. I know how hard it is to quit and I want to do everything I can do to support staff and patients to give up."

However, smokers lobbying group forest said banning patients from smoking outside was "heartless and inhumane" and argued it would be impossible to enforce without installing CCTV cameras and wardens to monitor the area.

"Many smokers are in hospital for reasons that have nothing to do with smoking. Why should they be told they can't nip outside and have a cigarette in the open air?

"Tobacco is a legal product and a lot of people smoke to relieve stress. A cigarette break at work or while they are in hospital is something they look forward to."

Additional reporting by Press Association

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you familiar with the sayin...

    Recruitment Genius: Hospitality Assistant

    £6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker

    £6 - £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most