Major moves under way for health service to go smoke free

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Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Community
To mark one month to go before Northern Ireland’s health and social care sites go smoke free, Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride and Public Health Agency (PHA) Chief Executive Dr Eddie Rooney have demolished a smoking shelter at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre, which will be replaced by a bike shelter.
(L-R): Public Health Agency (PHA) Chief Executive Dr Eddie Rooney, Southern Health & Social Care Trust (SHSCT) Medical Director Dr Richard Wright & Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride who marked the occasion by demolishing a smoking shelter at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre, which will be replaced by a bike shelter.

Public Health Agency (PHA) Chief Executive Dr Eddie Rooney, Southern Health & Social Care Trust (SHSCT) Medical Director Dr Richard Wright & Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride who marked the occasion by demolishing a smoking shelter at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre, which will be replaced by a bike shelter

From No Smoking Day on 9th March, The Southern Health & Social Care Trust along with the rest of the health and social care facilities and grounds will transform to be smoke free, meaning that smoking will not be allowed on site by staff, patients or visitors. This major step by the health and social care system in Northern Ireland is leading the way, helping to change the culture and highlight where smoking is unacceptable. Speaking as the smoking shelter was removed from the Cancer Centre site, Dr McBride said, “One in every two people who smoke will die from their habit. By going smoke free, the health service is taking a big step forward in tackling smoking head-on by making its premises healthier environments. “Smoking not only has a human cost. With one third of cancer deaths, and a significant proportion of coronary heart disease, strokes and circulatory illnesses, caused by smoking, it creates a massive financial burden on the health service in treating preventable smoking-related conditions. “It is unacceptable for patients, visitors and staff to be subjected to second-hand smoking while on health and social care facilities. By making this move, we hope to both protect people’s health directly and to influence cultural change by creating new norms around smoking in public. Dr McBride added, “By creating smoke free environments, supported by stop smoking services, we hope we can take a big step forward in empowering people to quit their habit and live healthier lives.” Dr Eddie Rooney said, “Stopping smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health. Creating smoke free health and social care environments and providing tailored support for people who want to quit their habit will help in our ambition to protect public health. “We know that stopping smoking isn’t easy, but help is at hand. There is a wide range of services available to support people who want to quit, and to assist those in hospital who need to tackle their nicotine cravings. We hope that this move across the health service will act as a turning point for many people, including patients, visitors and staff, who will see it as an opportunity to quit their smoking habit. For more information on support that is available, visit the PHA’s Want 2 Stop website at www.want2stop.info”

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