South Eastern Health Trust sites, including the Lagan Valley Hospital and Lisburn Health Centre, will go smokefree in March.
Smoking will be prohibited at all Trust sites, including buildings, grounds and car parks, from March 9, National No Smoking Day.
The Smokefree initiative is welcomed by the South Eastern Trust, and a recent survey has shown that it also has the overwhelming support of staff, service users and visitors.
South Eastern Health Trust member of staff Craig Brown successfully stopped smoking nearly a year ago.
Craig’s seven year old son was instrumental in his decision to quit. He had heard in school about the dangers of smoking and told Craig he was worried that something would happen to him.
That was the motivation needed for Craig to see his GP, talk to Stop Smoking Team and really put in the effort required to stop smoking for good.
Craig has noticed real improvements in his health and fitness, and energy levels. He has also used the money saved to book a holiday this spring which the whole family can enjoy.
The Chief Executive of the South Eastern Health Trust, Hugh McCaughey, said: “We must all commit to making our facilities smoke free, not just because it is now a directive or legislative requirement, but because it will help improve the health and lives of the community and the people we live beside and amongst.”
Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Andrew Hamilton, previously worked at the Western Trust during their implementation of ‘smoke free’ premises and is in no doubt that this is a major step forward.
He said: “Each day during my work as a heart consultant I deal with the consequence of smoking causing heart attacks. I am delighted that the Trust has decided to become smoke free this year as it will greatly benefit my patients and our staff. I don’t underestimate how difficult a change this will be for many people. I want to reassure our visitors, patients and staff that the smoke free team is here to help provide support through nicotine replacement products, support and advice.
“I hope that within a few weeks we will see a great improvement in the environment at the front of our hospitals with many fewer smokers standing in the rain. “
To find your nearest specialist service visit www.want2stop.info or contact the South Eastern Trust Stop Smoking Team on 028 92 501373.