As all Scottish NHS Boards prepare to implement smoke-free grounds policies across Scotland by March 31, NHS Western Isles is reminding members of the public that all NHS grounds and premises in the Western Isles have been smoke-free since November 2013.
Smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in the UK and is the biggest cause of ill health in Scotland. It is now estimated to claim over 13,000 lives each year and costs the NHS in Scotland an estimated £200 million per annum. For these reasons NHS Western Isles aims to discharge its public health duties responsibly and will always act to discourage and consequently prevent smoking.
From March 31 2015, patients, visitors and staff across Scotland will be asked to wait until they are off NHS grounds before lighting up.
This ambitious 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.
And this week, a new national TV and radio campaign is being launched asking smokers for their help to make this vision a reality. The message of the month-long TV and radio campaign is simple – the time for smoking on NHS grounds has drawn to a close.
NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Maggie Watts, said: “Scotland is a world leader in legislating and implementing effective tobacco control policies. The drive to make all NHS grounds in Scotland smoke-free is a vital step in helping us achieve a smoke-free generation within the next 20 years.
“We recognise how much effort is required from smokers to refrain from smoking on NHS grounds at what can often be a particularly stressful time for them.
“This campaign is not asking smokers to quit – although it would be wonderful if they could – but instead to wait until they are off NHS grounds before lighting up.”
As part of the campaign, a green curtain - #greencurtain – is seen being pulled by a nurse from a patient’s bedside, out of the ward, through the hospital, past parked cars and eventually around the entire perimeter of the hospitals grounds.
Dr Watts continued: “The NHS in Scotland has a duty of care to protect the health of, and promote health behaviours amongst, people who use or work in our services. This is why the time for smoking on all health service grounds has drawn to a close.”
Remember: Smoke Free Hebrides provides free confidential, advice, help and support to anyone in the Western Isles who would like to quit smoking. The service offers one-one, group, telephone, text or email at times suited to the needs of each individual. Contact details are as follows:
Lewis and Harris 01851 701623
Uists 01870 602588