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Smoking ban flouted daily

3rd March 2008

New research has shown that smoking rules are being regularly disregarded in many NHS hospitals.

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A study in 2007 - before the smoking ban came into effect but following the NHS "smoke free policy" - talked to 75% of acute health trusts in England and carried out spot checks on 15.

Over eight out of every 10 hospitals had established a smoke-free policy in their buildings and grounds by February 2007, according to data from journal BMC Health Services Research.

However, two-thirds of acute trusts and one-third of mental health trusts reported that this policy was not being followed. The checks showed staff and patients regularly smoked within the hospital environment. 94% of the hospitals had patients smoking and 35% had staff who were smoking.

Around 50% of hospitals made an exception to allow for "bereaved relatives or psychiatric patients, in outdoor areas or smoking rooms."

Professor Ann McNeill, an expert in health policy and promotion at the University of Nottingham, said: "It tends to undermine efforts to use the hospital to encourage people to stop smoking."

"We want to get the message across on how dangerous smoking is and it should not be tolerated but there needs to be support."

Co-researcher Elena Ratschen said staff should be offered more support in order to enforce the policy and that required more money.

 

 

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