NHS to stub out smoking

PUBLISHED: 10:50 23 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

SMOKING in NHS grounds and premises in Comet country is to be banned. NHS organisations will attempt to make the NHS across both Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire smoke-free starting on No Smoking Day, March 8. The decision, which comes just weeks after MPs

SMOKING in NHS grounds and premises in Comet country is to be banned.

NHS organisations will attempt to make the NHS across both Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire smoke-free starting on No Smoking Day, March 8.

The decision, which comes just weeks after MPs voted to ban smoking in pubs and clubs, will mean all designated smoking areas on these sites will be closed and smoking banned in the grounds.

Staff will also be unable to smoke while wearing uniforms and will be allowed to request smoke-free environments when they visit patients' homes.

East and North Herts NHS Trust spokesman Peter Gibson said: "We're not aiming to punish people. We're going to try to help people give up their habit."

Stevenage MP Barbara Follett, whose father died from lung cancer aged 56, welcomes the ban.

She said: "I still remember how shocked I was to find terminally ill people who could scarcely breathe still smoking when I used to visit him in hospital.

"I feel the same whenever I visit the Lister Hospital and see very sick people smoking and coughing by the front door. I am glad this is coming to an end."

Although Oliver Heald, MP for Hertfordshire North East, is keen to have smoke-free environments he has slight concerns about this proposal.

He said: "I am worried that people who are seriously ill and hospitalised for long periods will also be faced with all the problems of giving up smoking at the same time. For many this would be a harsh thing.

"Most hospitals have discreet facilities for smokers already."

The new measures will see improved signage across the NHS sites to make people aware of the change.

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