New Device to Stub Out Hospital Smoking

Smokers who light up outside Forth Valley Royal Hospital will trigger an alarm and loudspeaker message telling them to stop. The warning has been installed at the main entrance to help deter smokers who continually ignore the no-smoking signs.

It is hoped the measures will lead to a cultural change whereby people will no longer find it acceptable to smoke outside the hospital.

Mike Mackay, Contract Director for the facilities company Serco who have installed the machine, said not only would it convey a health message but it would also keep the concourse clean for the hundreds of people using the hospital every day.

“Despite warning signs telling patients, visitors and staff that smoking is banned in the hospital grounds, people continue to smoke. The result is masses of cigarette ends littering the area. Serco do employ staff to keep the grounds tidy but it is a constant battle picking up discarded tabs.  Even lighting a cigarette will set off the message and I hope this will encourage people to stub out hospital smoking.”

Figures revealed that in 2010 nearly 3,000 people in Forth Valley died from smoking-related illnesses. In both Clackmannanshire and Falkirk over 30% of the population smoke compared with a national average of 25%. In Stirling the figure is slightly less than the national average.

Across Scotland as a whole there are still more than one million adult smokers. 69% say they would like to quit and almost one in five smokers in Scotland using NHS support to give up were aged 60 or over. From January to December 2011 staff in Forth Valley supported 719 men and 995 women to quit smoking.

NHS Forth Valley Director of Public Health, Dr Anne Maree Wallace added: “I’m in no doubt that the vast majority of staff, patients and visitors want a smoke free environment and agree that people smoking outside hospital entrances is unacceptable.  We are committed to our comprehensive tobacco strategy which includes smoking cessation support and have been asked by the Scottish Government to help 5,000 people in Forth Valley to quit smoking by March 2014. Therefore it is clear why reducing the number of smokers is one of our top priorities.”

The smoking alarm is being trialled at the main entrance but if it proves successful others will be installed at various points around the hospital building.