Hospitals in Ipswich and Colchester reveal plans to go smoke free from March 8

Smoke free hospitals

Smoke free hospitals - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Hospital is going smoke free from March under a new policy promising a breath of fresh air for patients.

Smoking shelters are being removed by the trust on national No Smoking Day this spring in a bid to highlight health risks associated with the habit.

The decision to make the change, which is also being put in place at Colchester General Hospital, was reached in line with guidance given to NHS trusts across the country by Public Health England.

E-cigarettes are not covered by the ban, which comes into force on March 8 – but users will need to go to a designated vaping area.

Ipswich Hospital respiratory consultant Dr Jonathan Douse said: “The most effective and important health intervention for any medical condition is to stop smoking.

“The impact on health is much greater than any medication I could prescribe.

“Coming into hospital is a very good time for people to consider quitting.

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“There is a good chance that smoking has contributed to their admission in the first place, which means that stopping is key if they want to avoid coming back again. We will do everything we can to support them and can also signpost them to the stop smoking service available on site.”

More than seven million adults in England smoke, and tobacco use remains the single largest cause of premature death.

Each year, around 96,000 people in the UK die from diseases caused by smoking – which is the equivalent of three quarters of the population of Ipswich.

“Although the vast majority of people are responsible and use the smoking shelters, we have received increasing complaints about people smoking near the hospital entrances,” said Margaret Grant, occupational health lead nurse and operations manager at Ipswich.

“One mother who visits regularly has even told us that coming to hospital was the only time her child was ever exposed to second-hand smoke.

“We would encourage anyone who lives in Suffolk and wants to quit to contact OneLife Suffolk, who hold regular smoking cessation sessions at the hospital, and take the first steps to becoming smoke-free.”

Sheila Boyle is head of health and wellbeing at Colchester.

She added: said: “We are committed to helping people to live a healthy lifestyle and our clinical colleagues will always ask patients who smoke if they would like help to stop when they are referred to one of our hospitals.

“Anyone who lives in Essex and wants to stop smoking should contact Provide, which run the stop smoking service in the county.”

For more details about OneLife Suffolk, call 01473 718193 or send an email.

Call Provide on 0300 303 9988 between 8am-8pm, or contact via email