Ban sees smoking at hospitals cut by half

A DECISION to ban smoking in the grounds of Glasgow hospitals has seen the number of people lighting up falling by more than half.

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As a result, a pilot scheme which resulted in no smoking wardens patrolling all NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde main hospitals has been extended into next year.

The health board's zero tolerance crackdown on smoking in hospital grounds was launched in May.

Hospital entrances at 11 sites were rebranded with bright red ground markings and giant posters creating highly visible no smoking zones.

The impact of the "Smoking in Hospital Grounds - We're Sick of it" campaign has resulted in a 56% reduction in the number of smokers lighting up at hospital entrances in just five months.

Before the campaign launch, the Health Board received most complaints about people smoking in hospital grounds.

But since the ban was introduced, the number of complaints has fallen by around 18%.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: "I am delighted NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's campaign to discourage people smoking outside their hospitals has been a success and that the board has decided to continue using smoking wardens on some of their larger sites to discourage smokers.

"Scotland has set an ambitious target to become smoke-free by 2034.

"We are taking forward a range of measures to achieve this including bringing forward legislation on standardised packaging, investing in prevention and cessation programmes as well as looking specifically at discouraging young people from smoking and maintaining pressure on the price of tobacco.

"Smoking is extremely harmful to health. Each year, tobacco use is associated with 13,000 deaths and 56,000 hospital admissions in Scotland.

"We are committed to tackling this by reducing the number of people smoking and reducing exposure to second hand smoke."

Fiona Dunlop NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's health improvement lead for smoke-free services described the impact of the ban as "fantastic".

She added: "There is still a long way to go to persuade everyone to respect our smoke-free hospital grounds policy.

"To have achieved a reduction of 56% in smokers lighting up at entrances in five months is something we are very proud of. We still have a hard-core of smokers who ignore our signs and wardens and refuse to adhere to the policy and that is why we have decided to extend the presence of the wardens.

vivienne.nicoll@eveningtimes.co.uk

Health

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