We Are Smoke Free
A safer and cleaner environment for everyone
To enable us to provide a safe and clean environment that promotes health, reduces harm from exposure to second hand smoke, and supports the health of our hospital environment all of our sites are completely smokefree. This means that smoking is not permitted on any of our sites including all buildings, grounds and vehicles by Trust staff, patients or visitors.
As an NHS organisation, we have a duty to protect and care for the health and wellbeing of our patients, staff and visitors. Many of the people who access our services are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of second hand smoke, such as pregnant women, babies, children and those with medical conditions.
We recognise that smoking is a personal choice and we do not discriminate against those who choose to do so. However we ask that you help us keep our buildings and grounds smokefree to protect others. We also wish to provide a clean environment for all those who work and visit our Trust sites. By keeping our grounds smokefree we can minimise the impact of cigarette butt litter.
If anyone is seen smoking on our premises, our Smokefree Warden and Trust staff have the right to respectfully request for them to stop and extinguish their cigarette or to move off the site if they wish to continue smoking.
We know that many people are giving up smoking by switching to e-cigarettes. Due to the lack of evidence about the long-term effects of e-cigarettes The Southern Trust, in accordance with direction from the Public Health Agency NI, do not permit their use on Trust sites.
The introduction of the smoke free policy is in keeping with the Trust ethos as a health promoting organisation. This will ensure a healthier, cleaner and pleasant environment for all and promote better health outcomes for our patients and service users.
When did we go smokefree?
The Southern Trust went completely smokefree in March 2016
Why are we smokefree?
We are a health promoting organisation and are committed to protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of all employees, patients and visitors.
Smoking is the leading cause of premature death in the Northern Ireland. Exposure to secondhand smoke also causes disease and premature death among non-smokers and even brief exposure can cause immediate harm. Many of the people who use our services such as pregnant women, babies and children and people with medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of exposure to tobacco smoke. As an NHS organisation, we have a duty to protect and care for both the health and well being of our patients. Being smokefree reflects our commitment and responsibility for improving health and wellbeing.
Our decision to go smokefree is also in line with The Health Act (2006) and The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2013 guidelines which state that all hospital sites should be 100% smokefree.
What does smokefree mean?
Being smokefree means that smoking is not permitted on any of our sites by patients, staff, visitors or contracted agencies. This includes buildings, grounds and vehicles.
Why have smoking shelters been removed?
Having designated smoking areas including smoking shelters on our sites implies that we actively support smoking so we have removed the shelters. People who smoke within the smokefree boundaries will be asked to extinguish their cigarettes or move outside of the smokefree boundaries. As a sign of our commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of our staff and service users, many of our smoking shelters have been replaced with cycle racks.
How will staff support patients who smoke?
We know that lots of smokers want support to stop and that refraining from smoking can be very difficult. Smokers are four times more likely to stop smoking with the use of Nicotine Replacement products and NHS support.
Our staff are routinely provided with training to help smokers refrain from smoking whilst in our care. Patients who are admitted either as an emergency or planned admission, will be offered nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the form of patches and inhalator and will be offered a referral for ongoing support.
Don’t people have a right to smoke?
There is no given right to smoke and no obligation to permit people to smoke. It is part of our duty to improve and the protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, patients and wider communities and this includes ensuring we uphold their right to be protected from second hand smoke
What about patients who do not want to stop smoking?
Being smokefree does not mean that we are forcing people to stop smoking. However, patients will need to be smokefree whilst on trust premises. Some may choose to just stop smoking (either with or without support) during the period they are in hospital, whilst others may take the opportunity of making a permanent quit attempt.
We want staff to be ambassadors for good health and promote our smokefree policy; therefore all patients who attend our sites will be asked if they smoke. Patients, who are admitted either as an emergency or planned admission, will be offered nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the form of patches and inhalator and will be offered a referral for ongoing support. Patients who insist on leaving the ward areas to smoke will need to complete a disclaimer form and will need to leave the hospital site completely before smoking.
Where can patients and visitors smoke?
Smoking is not permitted on the grounds of trust premises. There is clear signage about the trust being smokefree displayed across our sites and a tannoy announcement system at hospital entrances to remind anyone seen smoking that smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes are not permitted. People who smoke within the smokefree boundaries will be asked by the Smokefree Warden and Trust staff to extinguish their cigarettes or move outside of the smokefree boundaries. This guidance also includes vehicles parked or being used on Trust sites.
Cigarettes are how I cope with stress, what will I do now?
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can be similar to the symptoms of stress and often the symptoms that smokers experience are caused by nicotine withdrawal rather than stress. Making sure that those who smoke are aware of how and where to access advice and support to manage symptoms of nicotine withdrawal is an important part of our work. Using Nicotine Replacement Therapy alongside advice to support those who wish to stop smoking short term or make a long term quit attempt has been shown to be very effective. You may find stress control classes useful in supporting your quit attempt Home – Stress Control
What is the most effective way to stop smoking?
The Department of Health advises that you are four times more likely to quit smoking if you use a combination of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and support from a trained stop smoking adviser. Details of where to get support to stop smoking are at bottom of this page.
How can Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) help?
Nicotine is what people get addicted to when smoking. It is relatively harmless – but the chemicals added to cigarettes are the ones that cause the harm. There are between 4000 and 7000 of these and they are what lead to the health issues associated with smoking including cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy products are designed to help smokers tackle their dependence on nicotine. Nicotine in the products (like gum or patches) provides a lower dose than that in cigarettes, and they don’t contain the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes.
There are a variety of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products and medication available to help manage cravings and nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine Replacement Therapy has been tested extensively and all products approximately double the chance of long term abstinence from smoking when compared to having no support. You are four times more likely to be successful in stopping smoking if you use combination Nicotine Replacement Therapy alongside support from a trained stop smoking adviser.
Why are e-cigarettes not allowed?
E-cigarettes are battery powered devices that deliver nicotine via inhaled vapour. Whilst it is thought they may be less harmful to users than cigarettes, there has been no long-term studies into the effects of their use on health.
Also, the charging of E-cigarettes has been linked to accidental fires. For these reasons the use of e-cigarettes is not permitted on Trust sites.
Support to stop smoking
All patients accessing our services will be asked about their smoking status and those who do smoke will be offered advice and support to help refrain from smoking. This will include a referral for on-going support for those who wish to give up smoking on a permanent basis and access to Nicotine Replacement Therapy during their admission.
For more information on the effects of smoking and the support available visit our stop smoking section Stop Smoking | Southern Health & Social Care Trust (hscni.net).
For further advice on Stop Smoking support contact:
Stop Smoking Team:
T: 028 3756 4400