Bright new signage has just been set up at all NHS Western Isles sites, reminding everyone who visits, works or is treated on any of our premises that NHS Scotland is smokefree. These permanent fixed signs are bright and colourful, featuring flora and fauna native to these islands and incorporating the ‘no smoking’ logo into the design.
The arrival of new signage and information leaflets provides an ideal opportunity to remind staff, patients, contractors and the public of the NHS Western Isles Smokefree policy. Although all Western Isles NHS sites have been smokefree since November 2013, some people have still persisted in smoking outside the hospitals and on other NHS premises.
Now, in line with many mainland authorities, the entire grounds of the NHS Western Isles are to be included in the ban on tobacco. That means delivery drivers, visitors, and patients are all prohibited from lighting up in or on any NHS premises or grounds. E-cigarettes are also not allowed in NHS buildings or on the majority of NHS grounds. This is because they are not currently regulated as a tobacco product or a medicine in the UK and may also mimic the look of smoking, which may make it harder for others not to smoke.
Joanne O’Donnell of Smokefree Hebrides, the team that provides support for people who want to stop smoking, explained: “The NHS exists to look after people’s health. Even smoking outside can harm those visiting and working in NHS buildings. For example, every time you smoke, you breathe out second-hand smoke. 85% of second-hand smoke is invisible and odourless, yet it can spread through open windows, doors and ventilation shafts, harming those inside.
“It’s also well known that seeing others smoking can make someone more likely to light up – and that’s particularly harmful to patients as smoking can delay their recovery time and increase the risks of complications.”
The Smokefree policy will also benefit patients who are attending a range of clinical services. Dr Maggie Watts, Director of Public Health, said “Being Smokefree is not just about having a policy banning smoking, it is also about helping people to move away from tobacco use which we know is so harmful to health. The Smokefree Hebrides smoking cessation service is friendly and supportive and can make a real difference in helping you to quit smoking.”
The Smokefree Hebrides team has advisors across the Western Isles so there will be one not too far from you, to support you to cut down on tobacco and cut out cigarettes.
‘Smokefree Hebrides’, led by Western Isles Health Promotion, is the stop-smoking service across the Western Isles and provides confidential advice and information on a one-to-one or group basis.
If you would like any further information or support on the NHS Western Isles Policy or support in quitting smoking, please do not hesitate to contact the Smokefree Hebrides team on 01851 70 1623.