Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust has implemented a new Nicotine Management Policy. This means that smoking, including the use of any tobacco products or e-cigarettes, will not be allowed anywhere on Trust premises. Support is available for current smokers and e-cigarette users from the Quit Squad, the Trust's stop smoking service. The team are on hand to provide friendly advice for anyone who would like to quit smoking for good.
Professor Max Marshall, Medical Director at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:
"We believe it is important that anyone who visits one of our sites, whether to work, to access our services or to visit a family or friend, has the right to a healthy and smokefree environment. We are all aware of the health risks created by smoking, including heart disease, stroke and some cancers; however, a lot of people are not familiar with the risks associated with secondhand smoke. This contains more than 4,500 chemicals, many of which are irritants and toxins including around 50 chemicals which are known to cause cancer.
"As a Trust, we recognise it can be difficult to stop smoking and we are making sure there is support available to anyone who wishes to quit for good. For those who do not wish to give up for good, help is available to combat nicotine cravings while on the premises or in our care."
Smoking is the single largest cause of premature death and preventable ill health in England and one in two long term smokers die prematurely as a result of smoking. People who experience a mental health problem have a reduced life expectancy of around 10-20 years, and 70% of these deaths were as a result of smoking related illness.
The decision to be a completely smokefree Trust has been met with praise. The Right Hon Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support said:
"I fully support this proposal to make Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust a smoke free environment. For such a large Trust to take this step would be a very important step in improving the wellbeing of people living with mental health problems, and in helping people live longer, healthier lives."
Dr. Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England's National Clinical Director for Mental Health said:
"It is excellent to see Lancashire Care take this impressive step to reduce the premature mortality that people with mental ill health experience. It is impressive that the Trust is introducing its policy in a way that supports patients and staff to achieve smoking cessation, and which will provide smokefree environments across its large range of community and mental health services. This is a key milestone in the future of mental health care, with the consideration of physical health included as standard during the care of those experiencing mental health problems, and vice versa. I am sure that other Trusts across the country will be keen to learn from the progress being made by Lancashire Care."
The new policy follows guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which recommends a smokefree healthcare setting. The Quit Squad can be contacted by calling Freephone 0800 328 6297 or visit www.quitsquad.nhs.uk for further information and to access the online self-referral form.