From the 1 September, all Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) sites in north Cumbria are going Smokefree.
This means that from Tuesday 1 September, if you smoke on the grounds of any CNTW site, you will be asked to stop by staff.
David Muir, Group Director for the North Cumbria Locality at CNTW, explained: “Creating a smokefree environment at our sites is more important than ever. Smoking, and breathing in second-hand smoke, puts people at greater risk of a whole host of illnesses. The evidence so far also suggests people who smoke may be at increased risk of severe disease if they get COVID-19.
“We have a duty of care to provide a safe and healthy environment for people receiving treatment and support from us, their visitors, and our staff. Going Smokefree is an important part of that.”
Expanding on why being Smokefree is so important for CNTW as a provider of mental health and disability services, David said: “People with mental health problems tend to smoke more than other people, meaning they are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of smoking. Men and women with severe mental illness die 15 to 20 years earlier that the national average and smoking is the biggest single reason for this difference. Being smokefree will help us to reduce this unacceptable inequality.
“It’s a common belief that smoking helps you relax, but smoking actually increases feelings of anxiety and tension. Stopping smoking not only improves your physical health, but it also boosts your mental health and wellbeing. Studies show that quitting can improve people’s mood and help relieve stress, anxiety and depression.”
In line with advice from Public Health England and the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT), CNTW’s staff will able to help people manage their cravings and stay smokefree while they are hospital using nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum or lozenges. People will also be able to vape in designated areas. Although not completely risk-free, vaping is significantly (around 95%) less harmful than continuing to smoke, and is now the most popular quitting aid in England.
There will also be trained members of staff on hand to support people who want to try and quit smoking for good.
The Trust is asking for the public’s support in helping keep their sites Smokefree from September. “If you are visiting someone in one of our hospitals, please help us by not bringing any cigarettes or tobacco products (including lighters) to the ward. People receiving treatment from the Trust at home or in a community setting will be expected to provide a smokefree environment for staff who are visiting them,” says David Muir.
Throughout the pandemic, CNTW has backed the #QuitforCovid campaign and other calls from Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer for people to quit smoking to protect themselves and others.
Smoking tobacco damages the lungs, weakens the immune system, and causes a range of severe respiratory problems. As well as reducing the risks from complications from coronavirus, quitting smoking quickly improves your circulation and your breathing. It also reduces the risks of other health problems such as heart attacks and strokes, at a time when the NHS is coming under strain from the pandemic.
Many people are feeling more motivated to quit smoking as a result of concerns over COVID-19. Findings from the YouGov COVID-Tracker show that an estimated 300,000 ex-smokers currently cite concerns over COVID-19 as the reason they quit.
Once someone is smokefree there are health benefits straight away, with the body continuing to repair the longer you stay smokefree. The immediate benefits include:
- After 20 minutes your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
- After 8 hours carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.
- After 48 hours carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris
- After 72 hours breathing becomes easier, boosting your energy levels, as bronchial tubes begin to relax
- After 2 weeks to three months, lung function and blood circulation starts to improve, making physical activity like walking and running easier
- After 3 to 9 months any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases
To find local Stop Smoking Services, advice and free tools to quit smoking, visit https://www.todayistheday.co.uk/.