Health leaders at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) have pledged to make it a smoke-free site by early next year. 

Chief executive officer David French, chair Jenni Douglas-Todd and chief medical officer Paul Grundy signed a national pledge committing the Trust to be smoke-free by April.

Coinciding with Stoptober, the national public health campaign aimed at encouraging smokers to quit, the organisation is now implementing a series of measures so that patients, staff and visitors do not smoke whilst on UHS sites and have the support they need to live smoke-free.

There are around 500,000 hospital admissions in the UK each year that are linked to smoking – with smokers 36 per cent more likely to be admitted than non-smokers. 

At UHS 70 per cent of lung cancer cases are directly linked to smoking and, across Southampton, smoking accounts for one in six deaths.

The Trust has already successfully introduced an in-house smoking cessation service smokers are referred to on admission. It helps patients remain smoke-free during their stay.

In the last year, 53 per cent of people who have used the service have continued to be smoke-free following their discharge. 

Midwives have undergone extra training to support expectant parents who smoke.

Support services for staff are being stepped up with a series of events being held by the occupational health team to help staff quit. 

Shelters used by smokers are being removed and signs directing people to support installed.

Daily Echo: University Hospital Southampton bosses sign the smoke-free pledge

Jenni Douglas-Todd said: “We know that being in hospital is a stressful time for patients and visitors and so we recognise the challenge we have of dissuading people not to smoke in those moments.

“That is why we are implementing this pledge in a way that supports people to use alternatives to tobacco that are less harmful to their health."

The move had been welcomed by health leaders in Southampton. Cllr Lorna Fielker, Cabinet Member for Health, Adults and Housing, said: “I’m so pleased UHS have signed up and that they’re doing such fantastic work to encourage patients, staff and visitors to be smoke-free.

“I have first-hand experience of using local stop smoking support services; the help and support available is brilliant and I’m pleased to say I have not smoked since!”