NHS Ayrshire & Arran officially launched its countdown to smoke-free grounds this week.
In seven months time, when the new Smoke-free Grounds Policy comes in to effect, smoking shelters will be removed and smoking will not be permitted anywhere inside the buildings or in the grounds of all NHS Ayrshire & Arran premises.
This follows a directive from the Scottish Government asking all NHS Boards to ensure their grounds are smoke free by March 2015.
Dr Carol Davidson, Director of Public Health, explains: “Smoking is the biggest single preventable cause of ill-health and early death in Scotland. It’s not only smokers who are at risk - passive smoking kills, causes disease and leads to health problems.
“The Scottish Government recognises the important example that the NHS should give in this matter and has asked all NHS Boards to lead the way in providing a clean, healthy and smoke-free environment to all patients, staff and visitors. Appreciating how important this issue is, Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board endorsed the Smoke-free Grounds Policy which was presented at its June Board meeting.”
The Smoke-free Grounds Policy was developed after an extensive period of engagement during November and December last year. Staff and members of the public were asked to complete a survey to gather their views on smoking and the best ways to achieve smoke-free grounds and their responses were taken into account when finalising the policy.
Dr Davidson adds: “The vast majority of people, including our staff, are supportive of the move to smoke-free grounds. However, we do appreciate that the change in policy has the potential to cause difficulty for some smokers. We will work closely with our Fresh Air-shire teams throughout the countdown period to make sure there are sufficient options available to those who would like help to manage their smoking.”
To talk about any aspect of smoking including help to stop, the effects of second-hand smoke or information about e-cigarettes, call free on 0800 783 9132, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.