A WINCHESTER hospital will be completely smoke free by the start of next month.

As part of a new campaign, no smoking will be allowed on the grounds of any of the hospitals run by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust from October 1.

This includes Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester to make sure that patients, visitors and staff are not exposed to cigarette smoke on their way into and out of hospital.

Vaping and e-cigarettes will continue to be allowed to be used in outdoor spaces, away from entrances and windows.

Daily Echo:

The Trust’s drive to become smokefree coincides with the start of Stoptober, Public Health England’s annual stop smoking event – and Hampshire Hospitals is providing additional support for patients, visitors and staff who would like to give up.

Nicotine replacement products will be available for patients on the wards and can be bought from the outpatient pharmacies at both Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

The Trust is also encouraging smokers to sign up with the Hampshire stop smoking service if they would like to give up.

After smoking on and off for more than 25 years, Terri Chivers, an administrator and receptionist working at the Trust, gave up on June 10 with the help of the stop smoking service.

Daily Echo:

She said: “I would not have been able to do it without them.

“They have lots of different options in terms of nicotine replacement therapy, I’ve found the weekly meetings really helpful and the team are great, sending me motivational texts and just being there for me if I need them."

Smoking costs the NHS an estimated £2billion a year, but the cost to society could be as much as £13.8billion each year. It also causes almost 80,000 premature deaths every year, and contributes to 1.7million hospital admissions.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals said: “We will be providing lots of additional support to help people stop smoking as part of our smokefree programme, so we hope that this initiative will also help to reduce smoking.

"We highly recommend the Hampshire stop smoking service, which has helped almost 3,000 Hampshire residents to stop smoking in the last year."

The other hospitals going smoke free will be Andover War Memorial Hospital and Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.