Monday 3 August, marked the day that Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust went totally smoke-free, with patients, visitors and staff no longer permitted to smoke, or vape, on either of our two sites – Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (L&D) and Bedford Hospital.
This change will bring the L&D in line with Bedford Hospital which became a smoke-free site in April 2019.
As a health Trust we aim to promote a healthy environment, and lifestyle, for everyone in our hospitals, and this includes all our patients, visitors and staff.
Smoking is one of the most common causes of heart disease and lung cancer, and increases the risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions.
Dr Syed Tariq, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, said: “As a health service dedicated to treating and preventing illness, we cannot allow smoking in our hospitals when it has been proven to cause disease and premature death. Lung cancer is one of many serious conditions caused by smoking, with more than 70% of cases occurring in smokers or ex-smokers.”
A campaign has been devised by the Trust to help smokers quit. This includes encouraging them to accept a referral to their local stop smoking service, offering Nicotine Replacement Therapy to all inpatients and promoting local stop smoking services commissioned by our local authorities.
The Bedfordshire Hospitals’ campaign has been supported by Total Wellbeing Luton, Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council. Both councils offer local smoking cessation services which will be available to staff, patients and visitors, in order to help them improve their health and quit smoking long-term, and in the short term, play their part in respecting our new smoke-free environment.
Cllr Khtija Malik, portfolio holder with responsibility for public health for Luton Council, said: “Smoking is the greatest cause of preventable death, sickness and health inequalities, causing more deaths than from obesity, alcohol, drug misuse, road traffic accidents and HIV combined and is responsible for half of the health gap between the poorest and more affluent communities. Smoking is so harmful to health that one in every two life-long smokers will die prematurely of the habit. With Luton having a higher than national average rate of smoking, we are pleased to play our part in this initiative which will help to reduce health inequalities and ultimately save lives.”
Central Bedfordshire Council’s Cllr Tracey Stock added: “You are up to three times more likely to quit if you use a combination of Stop Smoking medication with specialist help and support from your local Stop Smoking Service. Every smoker is an individual and so is their journey to quitting smoking.”
We offer free, professional, non-judgmental one-to-one support and a range of different medications to help beat cravings, so get in touch today.”
To contact your local stop smoking service for advice and support text QUIT to 88802.