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Thursday, 2 April 2009

Time to stub it on hospital grounds in Wales

On the second anniversary of the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces in Wales, isn’t it about time it’s extended to all hospital grounds?

The situation with this at the moment is that some Welsh NHS Trusts operate voluntary codes, but these aren’t enforceable by any laws or fines.

The BMA in Wales has campaigned before for smoking to be banned on all hospital grounds. In fact, we called on the Assembly Government to change the law to ensure hospitals were included in the smoking ban legislation, which came into effect two years ago today.

This wasn’t done, and now, more than ever, it seems absurd to have smoking outlawed in places such as pubs and restaurants. But on hospital grounds, where people go to be cured of illnesses, it isn’t. The very reason people visit hospitals is to increase their chances of getting better, not to potentially have their health threatened, by having to fight their way through clouds of cigarette smoke.

This anomaly’s recently been highlighted by North Wales NHS Trust, where security staff reportedly face 3,000 incidents of verbal abuse a year, as they try and enforce a ‘zero tolerance’ policy smoking on Trust grounds.

It seems logical that if it was actually made against the law to light up around hospitals, much of this abuse could be stamped out.

It really is time the Welsh Assembly Government addressed this issue and what better time than now, as we celebrate enclosed public places in Wales being smoke-free for the past two years.


  1. Congratulations to the BMA for making enclosed public places in Wales smoke-free - this has surely made life healthier and more comfortable for the majority. Taking it one step further there is now an obligation for the BMA to ensure that hospital patients, staff and visitors benefit by extending the ban to hospital grounds.
    The Welsh Assembly Government should step forward and support the BMA's campaign. To the cynics - the smoking ban has proven to be a major success in Wales and has highlighted that it should be taken a step further for everyones benefit.

  2. Thanks for acknowledging the success of the ban on smoking in enclosed public places GG, which we fought long and hard for.

    Now we certainly will be doing the same with extending the ban to include smoking on hospital sites, if that's what it takes to make the WAG see this is the only logical next step.

    We can't continue with the current situation where it's against the law to light up in pubs and restaurants, yet it isn't directly outside hospital entrances, where people are going to seek medical treatment and get better.


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