NHS hospitals and clinics should become completely smoke-free according to public health body NICE.
Patients who smoke should be offered nicotine patches and smoke cessation drugs under new guidlines – while counselling should be offered as soon as patients are admitted to an acute, maternity or mental health setting to encourage them to quit.
Professor Mike Kelly, Director of Public Health at NICE said: “It is absurd that smoking is still being passively encouraged within hospitals.
“We need to end the terrible spectacle of people on drips in hospital gowns smoking outside hospital entrances.
“Smoking has been thought to be a difficult nut to crack and so it is high time for this guidance. It recommends strong leadership and individual trusts have to own this. The professionals have to be willing to take this guidance on.”
Smoking is responsible for more than 460,000 hospital admissions in England every year.
Smoking is especially common among people with mental health problems – with 70 per cent of people in psychiatric units thought to be smokers.
Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists added: “A lot of nurses are actually facilitating smoking among patients. There are cases where patients have quit smoking and have then taking it up again when they enter our wards.
“The new NICE guidelines can help to change the culture whereby smoking is acceptable on NHS grounds and make it easier for hospital staff to set a clear example in helping patients to be successful in their attempt to quit smoking for good.”
What do you think? Leave a comment below to have your say.