Smokefree FAQs

Find out the answers to our frequently asked questions.

 Content Editor

What does smokefree mean?
Patients, carers, staff and all other visitors are not allowed to smoke on any North West Boroughs Healthcare sites, including all wards, buildings, grounds and vehicles. 
There are no designated areas where smoking is allowed.

Why did you decide to go smokefree? 
This is in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance, all hospital sites, including mental health hospitals, should be smokefree. 

This is to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of all service users and staff, as well as visitors and contractors. 

As an NHS trust, we have a responsibility to care for both the mental and physical health of our patients and staff.

We are committed to promoting positive health and wellbeing. It is important we treat service users in a healthy and safe environment and that our staff work in a healthy setting. 

What does this mean for service users who are admitted to hospital? 
If you are admitted to a North West Boroughs Healthcare inpatient ward, within 30 minutes of admission you will be offered a choice of either nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or E-burn electronic cigarettes, that will help with the cravings for a cigarette. Trained Smokefree Advisors on the ward will provide ongoing support throughout your stay.

No smoking equipment will be allowed onto the ward at any time so it must be returned home or the staff will dispose of it for you.

What does this mean for service users in the community?
If you are receiving treatment at home or in a community setting you will be asked to provide a smokefree environment when Trust staff visit you or when you go to appointments held in one of our buildings.

Staff at North West Boroughs Healthcare can signpost you to stop smoking support and your GP or nurse can give you information about stopping smoking. You can also contact your local stop smoking service for support.

Can patients, visitors and service users use electronic cigarettes?
Inpatients are now offered the choice of using one specific type of e-cigarette during their hospital stay which is an E-burn disposable electronic cigarette. This can be used in individual bedrooms and outside areas.

However, this is purely for inpatient as a treatment option. E-cigarette use by visitors and staff is not allowed on site.

Isn’t stopping smoking detrimental to the wellbeing of mental health service users?
No. Research shows that instead of helping people to relax, smoking actually increases anxiety and tension. 
The positive impact of reducing smoking rates whilst attending hospital, in terms of patient wellbeing, safety, care and quality of services, is considerable.
There is emerging evidence that when patients with psychosis, depression and anxiety are supported to stop smoking, with psychological support and either nicotine replacement therapy or other medication, on average, their mental health symptoms improve. 
Tobacco smoke also reduces the effectiveness of some medicines, which means a smoker needs a higher dose of medication compared with a non-smoker. When someone completely stops smoking, their medication can be reviewed and the dosage lowered in some instances by up to 50%.

Won't there be an increase in violent incidents with the implementation of the new policy?
Evidence from other trusts who have gone smokefree is that a complete ban leads to a reduction in smoking-related violence and aggression, rather than an increase.

Is there a risk that being smokefree will discourage voluntary admissions and attendance at outpatient appointments? 
Other mental health providers that have introduced a comprehensive smokefree policy have not seen any evidence of this.

How will smokefree be enforced?
Our aim is to develop an organisational culture where smoking is viewed as unacceptable across our sites.

In a situation where someone is breaching the policy, such as by openly smoking in our hospital grounds, a staff member may approach the person to let them know the Trust is now smokefree and that there are smokefree services if they would like support.