Smoking hospital ban to be considered by Welsh government

Benedict Jephcote
Thu, 02 Feb 2017
Smoking hospital ban to be considered by Welsh government
A new bill in Wales could provide the backing of the law to support hospitals in banning onsite smoking.

The Public Health Wales Bill, issued by the Welsh Government, lays out future plans in a bid to improve health in Wales.

If passed, the bill, which is being considered by the Welsh Assembly for the second time, will prohibit smoking on hospital grounds in Wales.

Health boards have expressed difficulty in preventing people from smoking outside of hospital buildings and are keen to have the backing of legislation.

The Welsh government has stated that the bill would allow hospitals to demonstrate a better example towards healthy living.

However, the document includes a clause which would allow managers of hospitals to create specific smoking areas on site if they wish.

Dr Phil Banfield, chairman of the British Medical Association Cymru, told the BBC he did not believe any exceptions should be made.

He said: "There is a conception that hospitals are places of healing. Having an activity that is the leading cause of death and hospital admissions on the doorstep seems a contradiction."

Health promotion in hospitals has become important in Wales with a ban on vending machine junk food being in place since 2008.

We have previously reported that NHS England has proposed plans to improve the health within hospitals. In the English plans, a ban on the sale of sugary drinks is one of the options being considered.

Smoking and junk food are two of the factors linked with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other long-term health conditions.

Dr Banfield said: "Hospitals need to be more inventive about how we promote the wider issues for the community.

"We are very rigid in the way we run our hospitals, really we have to think about them as community assets - our hospitals belong to the people."
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