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Over two-thirds of acute trusts are ‘smokefree’ but all should be, PHE says

Over two-thirds of acute trusts are ‘smokefree’ but all should be, PHE says
By Valeria Fiore Reporter
4 June 2019

More than two thirds, 69%, of NHS acute trusts have now banned smoking on their premises, Public Health England (PHE) has revealed.

However, the PHE survey from which the findings emerged – which was completed by 134 of the 145 acute trusts originally contacted by PHE – found that almost a third, 31%, have yet to enforce smoking bans on their sites.

Today, on World No-Tobacco day, PHE has called for all trusts to introduce a complete smoking ban on their premises.

Carried out from December 2018 to March 2019 as part of PHE’s Smokefree NHS campaign, the survey also showcased examples of trusts that have successfully introduced smoke-free policies.

These include:

  • effective leadership to ensure policies are implemented quickly
  • introducing smoke-free steering or working groups
  • dedicating staff to supporting inpatients to quit
  • recorded ‘no smoking’ announcements
  • promoting a health environment through initiatives such as fruit and veg stalls at hospital main entrances
  • creating shelters with plants and trees
  • collaboration with local schools to produce ‘no smoking’ signage

Some trusts have allowed the use of e-cigarettes and vaping in designated areas, which has allowed them to achieve ‘smokefree’ status, PHE said.

The PHE Smokefree NHS campaign also called for all smokers to receive ‘evidence-based quitting support’, in line with the long-term plan commitment to offer smoking cessation services to all inpatients smokers by 2023/24.

PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie said that one in four hospital beds are occupied by a smoker, many of whom want to quit.

He added: ‘It cannot be right that it is more acceptable in some hospitals to smoke at the front door than it is outside a pub.’

Public health minister Seema Kennedy supported PHE’s call for all trusts to be ‘smokefree’, and said she is ‘determined to see a smoke-free NHS by 2020’.

Meanwhile, support for smokers in the community has fallen in recent years. Under half, 44%, of local authorities no longer offer a specialist stop smoking services in their area and less than 10% of councils commission smoking cessation through primary care, according to a survey by Action on Smoking and Health and Cancer Research UK, published last month.

Moreover, analysis by the Labour Party last year revealed that central funding for smoking cessation services was slashed by over a third between 2013/14 and 2016/17.

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