NHS board’s smoking ban to cover all sites

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ALL staff, patients and visitors will be prohibited from smoking on all NHS Borders sites including grounds and car-parks as well as inside the buildings as from January 1, 2012.

Borders NHS Board has approved a revised Tobacco Policy aimed at maximising health improvement for NHS Borders staff, service users and visitors by going beyond the legal requirements.

Dr Eric Baijal, joint director of public health, said: “Tobacco smoking is an addictive habit which represents the single largest preventable cause of ill health and death in Scotland. Tobacco smoke in the environment is also a health hazard to non-smokers.

“NHS Borders is committed to promoting healthy living and non-smoking as our normal culture. We are doing this by ensuring a smoke-free environment, and offering support to those who want to give up. This policy aims to protect not only our staff, but anyone who uses our premises.”

There are few exceptions to the blanket no smoking policy. Staff, patients and visitors will not be allowed to smoke in all NHS Borders grounds and car-parks as well as inside the buildings. However, there is one exception - with smoking allowed in car parks 1-6 at Borders General Hospital, but they can only smoke as they exit their cars and cigarettes must be put out before they join the pedestrian routes to and from the hospital.

Calum Campbell, NHS Borders chief executive, said “As a healthcare provider it is important that NHS Borders is seen by the community as leading the way in spreading the health improvement message regarding life style choices, it is right and proper that we discourage smoking and enable and support our community in improving their health. Our long-term aim has always been to achieve a completely smoke free environment and this is one more important step towards achieving this.

“With the exception of the BGH car parks, anyone smoking on our premises should expect to be asked to stop. In this situation, we would ask people to comply with the request to put the cigarette out or move to an area outside the grounds and respect the fact that staff are only trying to promote our health improvement message.

“Our mental health in-patients units have made a significant step forward by agreeing with stakeholders that smoking will be allowed within external designated areas only.

Our Borders community, staff and patients who smoke will continue to be offered help to quit.”

NHS Borders Smoking Cessation service provides support to smokers who wish to stop smoking under the Quit 4 Good programme through one-to-one advice and support groups.

If you want to stop smoking, contact your local health centre or pharmacy or call the NHS Borders Smoking Cessation Service on 0844 811 8180.