A safer environment for everyone
To enable us to provide a safe environment that promotes health and reduces harm from exposure to second hand smoke, all of our sites are now completely smokefree. This means that smoking is not permitted on any of our sites including all buildings, grounds and vehicles. We have removed designated smoking areas.
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 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. If anyone is seen smoking on our premises, our staff have the right to respectfully request for them to stop and extinguish their cigarette.
We know that many people are giving up smoking by switching to e-cigarettes and these have been proven to be an effective way of helping people to quit smoking completely. As e-cigarettes do not expose others to second hand smoke and offer a less harmful alternative to smoking their use is permitted within the grounds of our sites, but their use is not permitted indoors.
Frequently asked questions
- When did Northumbria Healthcare go smokefree?
We went completely smokefree on 31 March 2018.
- 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 UK. 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 being smokefree mean?
Being smokefree means that smoking is not permitted on any of our sites. 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.
- 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 being trained 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, as 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 is not permitted. People who smoke within the smokefree boundaries will be asked to extinguish their cigarettes or move outside of the smokefree boundaries.
- 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 to support smokers. Using combination NRT 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.
- What is the most effective way to stop smoking?
The Department of Health recommends 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 around 4000 of these and they are what lead to the health issues associated with smoking including cancer, heart disease and stroke.
NRT 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 NRT products and medication available to help manage cravings and nicotine withdrawal. NRT 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 NRT alongside support from a trained stop smoking adviser.
- What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are battery powered devices that deliver nicotine via inhaled vapour. They do not contain tobacco, so the user is not exposed to poisonous gases that are in tobacco smoke and are reported to be up to 95% less harmful than cigarettes. E-cigarettes do not expose others to the harmful effects associated with second hand smoke.
The trust supports the use of e-cigarettes in the grounds but not inside of buildings.
These devices work well on their own or can be used alongside NRT and having support from a trained stop smoking adviser alongside the use of NRT and/or e-cigarettes greatly increases your chances of success in quitting.
- Smoking key facts:
There are many benefits in not smoking both to the smoker, their family and loved ones and the wider community. Some of the benefits of not smoking can affect the body very quickly:
- After 20 minutes blood pressure and heart rate can return to normal
- After 8 hours nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood halve and oxygen levels return to normal
- After 1 day lungs start to clear and carbon monoxide levels return to normal
- After 2 days ability to smell and taste are improved
- After 3 days breathing becomes easier and energy levels improve
- After 3 – 9 months lung function improves by 10% and there is an improvement with coughing, breathing and wheezing
- After 5 years risk of stroke returns to that of a non smoker
- After 10 years risk of lung cancer returns to that of a non smoker
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 page.
For further advice and support to stop smoking contact:
- Northumberland Stop Smoking Service on 01670 813 135
- North Tyneside Stop Smoking Service on 0191 643 7171
- National NHS Smoking Helpline number 0300 123 1044
If you have any queries about the trust being smokefree please email firstname.lastname@example.org