NHS hospitals across England will get help from the national health improvement authority the Health Development Agency (HDA) to make sites smoke-free.
The HDA document Guidance for Smoke-free Hospital Trusts provides help on putting a smoke-free policy in NHS buildings into practice.
The aim of this policy, set out in the public health white paper Choosing Health in November 2004, is to protect and improve the health of staff, patients, visitors and remove the dangers of secondhand smoke which has been shown to cause lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.
Nigel Crisp, chief executive of the NHS, welcomed the guidance saying: “Choosing Health announced that the NHS will become smoke-free by the end of 2006. The HDA document explains what is needed to achieve smoke-free status and how to do it.
“Just one example is that this will give a good opportunity for people working in hospitals to get free expert advice and support from the NHS Stop Smoking Services. I hope smoke-free policies will help many people in their attempts to quit and thus improve their chances of living healthier lives,” Crisp said.
The document defines a smoke-free NHS as “smoke-free policies within trust buildings”. This means that smoking is not permitted anywhere within the hospital buildings, and smoking rooms will not be allowed.
Some NHS trusts have decided to include grounds as well as buildings in their smoke-free policies and this may be considered the ultimate standard to which all trusts might aspire to in the near future.