July 4 = Independence from smoking for hospitals
The board of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust has approved a proposal for a full ban on smoking at its hospitals from July 4, following a three-month consultation among the public and staff.
From July 4, 2005, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Cromer & District Hospital will join the growing ranks of NHS hospitals and health centres in Norfolk that have gone, or are about to go, smoke free.
To date, health centres and hospitals run by the James Paget Healthcare NHS Trust, North Norfolk, Southern Norfolk, Broadland, and Norwich PCTs have already banned smoking completely on their premises as has the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (for staff and visitors).
The hospital trust policy supports a national campaign across the NHS to reduce the rate of heart disease and cancer, and has prompted the Trust to revisit its current policy on smoking on all Trust premises. The Trust currently allows smoking in shelters outside NNUH or in a smoking-only room at Cromer.
The hospital trust issued 8,000 consultation questionnaires for patients, public, members of hospital staff, and other stakeholders, and had 2,413 responses – an overall response rate of 30 per cent.
The proposal was also supported by the rest of the NHS locally, the Local Medical Committee, city and county councils, Age Concern Norwich, the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind, Norfolk Fire Service, Friends of Cromer Hospital, North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, and other stakeholders.
Q. Do you agree with the proposal for our hospitals to become totally smoke free?
Yes – 66.7%
No – 33.20%
Q. Our respondents (in terms of being smokers/non-smokers were)
Non-smokers – 73.5%
Ex-smokers – 15%
Smokers who want to stop – 5.35%
Smokers who don't want to stop – 6.2%
Q. If you are a smoker, how will you cope when our sites go Smoke Free?
Easily – 71%
With difficulty – 15%
Don't know – 13.5%
The original proposal was to go Smoke Free from April 4 but as only 51 per cent of respondents felt that was realistic the Trust has decided to give people three months notice and start its smoking ban from July 4.
The Smoke Free policy and the consultation results can be viewed on the Trust's website www.nnuh.nhs.uk
Smoking and health facts
In the UK more than 300 people die every day die as a result of smoking.
Smoking kills around five times more people in the UK than road traffic accidents (3,439), other accidents (8,579), poisoning and overdose (3,157), murder and manslaughter (513), suicide (4,066), and HIV infection (234) combined (22,833 in total – 2002 figures).
About half of all regular cigarette smokers will eventually be killed by their habit.
Smoking causes about thirty per cent of all cancer deaths (including around 84% of lung cancer deaths), 17% of all heart disease deaths and at least 80% of deaths from bronchitis and emphysema.
Cigarette smoking increases the risk of having a heart attack by two or three times, compared with the risk to non-smokers.
About 90% of cases of peripheral vascular disease which lead to amputation of one or both legs are caused by smoking – about 2,000 amputations a year in the UK.
Women who smoke and take the contraceptive pill have 10 times the risk of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease compared with those who take the pill but are non-smokers. Smoking has also been linked with an increased likelihood of menstrual problems (although not with PMT).
Smoking leads to an earlier menopause: on average women smokers go through the menopause up to 2 years earlier than non-smokers and are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
Smoking has been associated with increased sperm abnormalities and with impotence in men.
Smoking during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of:
– bleeding during pregnancy;
– premature birth;
– low weight of babies at birth;
– Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death).