Countdown on to smokefree sites

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From No Smoking Day on March 9, The Southern Health & Social Care Trust along with the rest of the health and social care facilities and grounds will transform to be smoke free, meaning that smoking will not be allowed on site by staff, patients or visitors.

This major step by the health and social care system in Northern Ireland is leading the way, helping to change the culture and highlight where smoking is unacceptable.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said: “One in every two people who smoke will die from their habit. By going smoke free, the health service is taking a big step forward in tackling smoking head-on by making its premises healthier environments.

“Smoking not only has a human cost. With one third of cancer deaths, and a significant proportion of coronary heart disease, strokes and circulatory illnesses, caused by smoking, it creates a massive financial burden on the health service in treating preventable smoking-related conditions.

“It is unacceptable for patients, visitors and staff to be subjected to second-hand smoking while on health and social care facilities. By making this move, we hope to both protect people’s health directly and to influence cultural change by creating new norms around smoking in public.