A West Midlands healthcare Trust has now become a smokefree organisation – banning smoking in any outdoor areas and cars parked on site. At the same time the Trust has endorsed the position of Public Health England in promoting vaping as an alternative and a route to quitting smoking.
The move at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, is part of the Trust’s Joint Public Health Plan developed with Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. The organisation, which runs Sandwell, City and Rowley Regis Hospitals, as well as Leasowes Intermediate Centre, made the pledge to go smokefree exactly one year ago, on the 70th birthday of the NHS.
Anyone ignoring the ban and lighting up on site will receive a £50 fine. Patients will be offered NRT products as alternatives if appropriate.
Two vaping shops, run by eZigWizard, now opens, with one based at City and the other at Sandwell Hospital.
Smoking enforcement officers are now patrol the site, working alongside staff, including security staff, to challenge people smoking on site. Cameras to support the policy are in place.
There has been overwhelming support for the ban within the organisation and across the local community.
Dr Ziaudeen Ansari, Respiratory Consultant, said: “It is very frustrating to see patients in our respiratory clinics who present with COPD and lung cancer due to smoking, as they have already damaged their lungs due to smoking, without realising the consequences of their behaviour. However stopping smoking even after diagnosis will help their breathing, so I would urge anyone who smokes to stop in order to improve their lung health.”
Medical Director of the Trust, Dr David Carruthers, added: “The Trust’s Board, and our clinical leaders, are united in the view that smoking kills. Given that simple truth we can no longer support smoking on our sites, even in shelters or cars. Every alternative is available and we ask visitors and patients to work with us to enforce these changes. Giving up smoking saves you money and saves your health.
“No more passive smoking on our sites is a public health necessity.”