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So this is how the NHS will care for patients who smoke in the 21st century

Just arrived in cold, bleak Salford after a three-hour drive.

I'm here for a short interview on the BBC Breakfast sofa at 8:10.

BBC News has the story here:

The NHS must stop turning a "blind eye" to smoking and ban it in all hospital grounds in England, according to new guidance.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said it wanted to see smoking shelters scrapped so patients, visitors and staff could not light up.

Staff should also stop helping patients out of their beds to go for a smoke.

And patients who smoke must be identified and offered help to quit, the guidance added.

The report includes a quote from Forest. See NHS told to stop turning 'blind eye' to smoking (BBC News).

Our full response was:

The smokers’ group Forest has criticised the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) after the health and social care guidance body issued new guidelines suggesting hospitals should become completely smoke-free to help people stop smoking.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said, “NHS staff have a duty of care to protect people’s health but that doesn’t include the right to nag, cajole or bully smokers to quit.

“Many smokers are in hospital for reasons that have nothing to do with smoking. Why should they be told they can’t nip outside and have a cigarette in the open air?

“Tobacco is a legal product and a lot of people smoke to relieve stress. A cigarette break at work or while they are in hospital is something they look forward to.

“It’s not only heartless and inhumane to ban patients from smoking outside hospitals and clinics, it’s almost impossible to enforce without installing CCTV cameras and employing wardens to monitor the grounds.

“Apart from the Big Brother connotations, it doesn’t strike us as a sensible way to spend taxpayers' money.”

We're also quoted here:

Ban patients and staff smoking outside hospitals, say official health advisers (Guardian), Ban smoking on all your grounds, hospitals urged (Daily Mail).

Via the Press Association Forest has also been quoted in upwards of 50 regional newspapers – online, at least. For example, NHS 'should not facilitate smokers' (Yorkshire Evening Post).

I'm also on LBC and a number of BBC local radio stations (Solent, Newcastle, Leeds).

Forest campaigns manager Angela Harbutt has been equally busy – more so, perhaps. From 7.00am this morning Angela did back-to-back interviews with the following:

BBC Hereford and Worcestershire, Humberside, Gloucestershire, Stoke, Newcastle, Shropshire, York, Nottingham, Surrey & Sussex, Merseyside, Bristol, Oxford, Derby and Tees.

Angela is also on Sky News around 10:30.

Update: Angela was also on the Five Live phone-in with Nicky Campbell.

Meanwhile I can't leave the BBC studios in Salford until I've done the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2 at 1.30pm.

It's going to be a long morning.

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Reader Comments (17)

I heard of a hospital in-patient who was so stressed at being unable to have a cigarette that he had a fatal heart attack (this is not meant to be an amusing comment).

The proposed policy is already implemented and it's cruel and foolish - these people either have no idea about the conditions under which it's impossible to quit smoking or they're sadistic b**tards. They're also failing to assess the 'risk' of the occasional cigarette smoked by in-patients versus the distress caused by being denied a smoke and completely failing to recognise that if someone's in hospital for a non-smoking-related condition then it's none of their damn business if the patient wants to smoke and if it's a 'smoking-related' condition then it's a bit bloody late to be denying them the comfort of a cigarette.

Y'know, I think these people have so lost the plot that they'd seriously deny the condemned man a last cigarette on the grounds that 'it's bad for your health'.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 9:22 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Up another notch

This is nothing more than giving the ratchet another turn thus keeping up the pressure of persecution against smokers’ – it isn't anything more than that.

There is no need to behave like this because it serves no useful medicinal purpose for patients, who are there to be cared for…isn’t that why they pay their taxes?

Of course you can see the dead hand of NICE (nicely) fuelling the fire with it’s spiteful nonsense about why should nurses have to help patients go outside for a smoke – why not if it makes them feel better and aids their recovery?

I wonder how many politicians’ are aware of this intended behavioural change, and what would be their thoughts on this.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 9:59 | Unregistered CommenterDennis

Nashville Musician shot over smoking in a bar How far do we let the hate campaign against smokers go! TO MURDER..............

Audrey Silk NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.)

Regardless if later they say that the fight became about more than smoking it still BEGAN over an objection to someone smoking. An objection that would have never been heard before the anti-smokers began waging their war. Thus this fight would have never begun:

The Smokers' Graveyard.

In Memory of all the smokers driven to their deaths by smoking bans.

How did the shooter become so hateful towards smokers.....

Markers of the denormalisation of smoking and the tobacco industry “Smoking, smokers and the tobacco industry are today routinely depicted in everyday discourse and media representations in a variety of overwhelmingly negative ways. Several authors have invoked Erving Goffman’s notions of stigmatisation to describe the process and impact of this radical transformation, which importantly includes motivating smoking cessation.” THE SPOILED IDENTITY OF SMOKERS Smokers as malodourous Smokers as litterers Smokers as selfish and thoughtless Smokers as unattractive and undesirable housemates Smokers as undereducated and a social underclass Smokers as addicts Smokers as excessive users of public health services Smokers as employer liabilities​/content/17/1/25.full

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 11:28 | Unregistered Commenterharleyrider1978

It is interesting that ASH board member Dr Lesley Owen also works at NICE.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 12:50 | Unregistered CommenterDave Allum

Hospitals have already discovered that their current, spiteful, little smoking ban is almost unenforceable (our local: don't believe the myth that doctors and surgeons don't smoke- most hospitals have a 'doctors smoking area' outside but hidden from public view (ask any Sec Man who works hospitals). How in earth are they going to police /fine further persecution of the Smoking Community? No security man will want to be handing out 'tickets' without a stab vest.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 13:06 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blocked Dwarf

While visiting a friend in hospital (hip replacement) I passed a woman stood on the pavement outside the hospital grounds smoking a cigarette. The fact that she was in her slippers and dressing gown made me assume she was a hospital patient. I asked her why she was stood there and she said she had been moved from outside the hospital building to prevent others taking in her second hand smoke. She pointed to where she had been stood and there were two, diesel powered, hospital vans, unattended and stationary with their engines running, pumping out black diesel fumes. Second hand cigarette smoke = bad. Thick, toxic, diesel fumes = good!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 14:11 | Unregistered CommenterPenseivat

So our hospitals are set to become centres for correctional behaviour and normalisation of all those, patients or staff who choose not to comply with the diktat of the public health cult. I think that it is high time the funding status of NICE was adjusted in a direction that would benefit the well being of the majority in the UK.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 17:56 | Unregistered CommenterIvan D

I heard Vasos on Chris Evans this morning saying that smoking means healing takes longer, especially after an operation, so this makes sense!

Of course, if mindless plebs are told something often enough then, of course, they believe it. Just like the anti smoking lobby, say something often enough and it must be true!

Smoking does not cause a more lengthy healing process, however, being denied the right to smoke would not only prolong healing of physical wounds/symptoms, it would also perpetuate mental illness, stress and anxiety. Therefore, the medical profession would be doing far more harm than good. Prior to the ban I was able to manage my depression with the help of cigarettes and did not need to resort to medication. Now, for nearly 7 years I have been on various medications for depression, anxiety and stress, all caused by this insidious ban.

As for bullying patients into giving up, NOTHING and especially not their 'wonder drugs' (NRT) will work UNLESS the smoker actually wants to give up and if that is the case NRT might be a mental crutch to aid them, but is not what perpetuates them quitting. The fact that they truly want to give up is how and why they mange to quit. I was also horrified when I registered with a different GP surgery and had my New Patient assessment to be told that they were now able to offer a new wonder drug that was really successful in helping people to quite, it is called Champex! I told the nurse, in no uncertain terms, what they could do with their 'wonder drug' and under no circumstances would I ever consider taking it as it is responsible for far more deaths than smoking is! I went on to explain the suicidal tendencies it caused and she was dumbfounded. As I said, it does a better job of killing people than I have so far managed when trying to top myself!

As for people who are terminally ill and want a smoke, to deny them this pleasure is too cruel for words. It is also extremely distressing for their family. My father died in hospital in February 2002 and the night before he died he asked for a smoke; we were told it was too much trouble to manoeuvre him out of the side ward he was in. I was going to get him outside, somehow, but my mother didn't want to make a fuss. He died the next morning. It still haunts me that I was not able to fulfill his last request.

The NHS has become a despicable organisation that no longer adheres to the ethos under which it was set up and ALL those intent on discriminating against those that do not conform to their ideologies should not be working in a the caring profession, as they so obviously do not care for the wellbeing of anyone. Scum, the lot of them.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 20:29 | Unregistered CommenterLyn Ladds

So that was what the embargoed article was about! Heavens above! It was just a statement from an employee of NICE called Kelly.
NICE is supposed to be an organisation which seeks out best MEDICAL practices, and not best BEHAVIOURAL practices.
It looks as though Abbott in Australia has received some good advice. He must have been advised that he needs to get the gorilla of The Tobacco Control Industry off his back, otherwise it will pester him to death and waste millions of precious dollars. Let's hope that he tells Cameron.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 21:34 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Support from an unexpected quarter this morning in R4's "Thought for the Day" in which the speaker asked, "Why just pick on smokers?" and went on to say that hospitals should be places of care and hospitality with the implication that they no longer are.

Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 9:40 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Why is it always us poor smokers that get hit. Here we go again Nanny knows best !! What about the awful drinking culture and the awful drunks that end up in A and E? But not its always us smokers. I have an electronic ciggie and its very good. I am cutting down but will not be bullied into giving my electronic ciggie up I can assure you. I suffer from stress at times and having the odd puff calms me down. But I just think that the government are not thinking this through very well at all. For an eg How will be shop keeper able to tell the difference between pall mall red,which are the strongest cigarette to the silver packet which are the lighter version? or the green menthol ones. ? No one is thinking this matter through

Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 16:16 | Unregistered CommenterAmandah

As a Trade Union Officer, I find it equally disgusting that the staff are being treated this way, as I do the patients. Unfortunately, we all know what kind of organisation the NHS is. An earlier commentator on this story, noted what a despicable organisation the NHS has become. Unfortunately, the truth is rather worse, in that the NHS was quietly working away against us, decades before any of its goals began to be achieved.

When the Health & Safety Executive refused to be the implementing body for the UK ban, due to lack of evidence, the NHS implemented it themselves anyway, regardless of truth or people's rights to self-determination. In a genuine Q&A paper, that they released at the time of the ban, they stated that even if everyone in a small business smoked, they would not be allowed to smoke indoors, such as in the company van, because the NHS were "protecting smokers from the effects of passive smoking, as well as non-smokers." If their conceit didn't have such a negative effect on our lives, it would be comical.

I have seen an NHS policy document from the early 1990s, setting out, at a high level, their aims and how they would achieve them - the attitude portrayed there was disgusting. While I might not go so far as to say it looked like it had been written by Adolf Hitler, I definitely would go so far as to say that it looked like it had been written by a "Sir Humphrey Appleby" type, with complete disregard for the citizenry, or even the government of the time. This is the type of person we are up against, and unfortunately they exist in many countries.

If you want an example of just how powerful such people are, I refer you to the stifling of the World Health Organisation, again in the 1990s. This body openly and honestly presented a report which clearly stated that there was no conclusive evidence, even statistically, of passive smoking being a cause of lung cancer, because the combined studies across the world conflicted with each other. While smokers across the world cheered, and praised the bravery of the WHO, the anti-smoking groups were apoplectic with rage, and within a day or two the WHO statement was withdrawn, being replaced with words of a weasel variety. I cannot help but wonder what phone calls and threats were made in that short window of time, such that a UN organisation could be overruled, and it should be enough to strike fear into the hearts of all freedom-loving people. Tellingly, when the UK ban was implemented, the NHS quoted from two reports, one they had commissioned, and one the US Surgeon General had commissioned, but they only referred to the existence of the WHO report, implying it supported their case, but never actually quoting from it, because it didn't.

Is there a sinister global plot though? I doubt it, because that would require intelligence and organisation way beyond the ineptness of the average government or its mandarins, but there definitely are a large number of people who are serving their own self-interest at our expense, either for profit, or for their own moral pomposity, or both, and some of them will be working together at various levels.

This latest development in the NHS strategy causes me to share with you a shuddering thought. One of our arguments for the freedom to smoke is that the product itself is legal, and therefore we must be allowed reasonable freedoms to enjoy that legal product. Unfortunately, from what I read in that 1990s NHS paper, the ultimate goal of the NHS is to reduce tobacco consumption to a point where they can have it fully outlawed. While this may sound like a preposterous goal, I should point out that when the WHO temporarily exposed the truth on passive smoking, the spectre of a total ban in enclosed public places seemed equally preposterous, but it happened.

The trouble is, nobody listens to us, and nobody will defend us from further attacks, let alone restore some of our rights. We don't work together as a cohesive group ourselves, and even FOREST can't turn the tide on its own. While I do not currently support any political party, and I even prefer to be in an unaffiliated union, it saddens me that there are 15 million smokers in this country, and yet we haven't united to create a political force or party against the current ban, let alone against what is ultimately coming. I think we need to do so before it is finally too late, and all join up.

Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 12:08 | Unregistered CommenterMarcus Swift

Marcus, there is a political party that does and will support smokers - UKIP. They are gaining more and more support as people are getting more and more disillusioned with the major 3 parties and their total arrogance and self importance. If smokers were to support them too then there is a very good chance they could give the major 3 a damn good run for their money.

Obviously, things won't happen overnight, but the more support UKIP get the more nervous the other become and that can only be a good thing.

I urge people to at least have a look at their website. I am a member of UKIP, but am not actively involved due to work pressures, but they do need people to stand in many areas of the country, which would give some people here the opportunity to really stand up and be counted.

Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 14:33 | Unregistered CommenterLyn Ladds

They may have solid smoking policies but Ukip are a racist party.

Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 16:33 | Unregistered CommenterDave Allum

UKIP are not a racist party at all, they are a realistic party.

If a party member, of any party, says something he/she believes in, it is not necessarily something that the party itself believes in and individuals are usually taken to task if their personal comments cause problems. However, every individual has a right to his/her own personal views.

I do not believe that I am a racist, but I do firmly believe that it has got a point where our country is so overrun with foreigners that indigenous British are in danger of becoming (if we haven't already) the 'ethnic minority'.

Our island is not big enough to continue taking in people from all over Europe, never mind the world. That is fact, not racism.

Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 18:53 | Unregistered CommenterLyn Ladds

It's easy to buy into the propaganda and believe UKIP to be racist as it's easy to believe smokers are filthy, dirty, selfish addicts who need "help" to quit.

True some of the former UKippers were stupid in sounding off personal opinions that were not party policy - but those that were offensive or racist have been kicked out.

UKIP is trying to move into the main stream in a non PC way so all thoughts - even offensive ones - are welcome. Better the enemy you know than the one who hides under the surface.

Make UKIP great by joining, and standing as candidates and ensure it doesn't have to rely on the intellectually challenged who are very much in the minority.

I almost had a reason to vote Tory in my very marginal constituency but with Cameron now bowing down to the anti-smoker industry with plans to steal our consumer rights with PP, then clearly it matters not to me whether LibDems win, Lab wins or Tory wins as they are all one and the same and non of them will take my views as a consumer or voter into consideration.

I will not vote for a racist party - but I will vote for UKIP - hate is hate whether that hate is leveled against race or lifestyle, sexuality or gender.

My biggest problem with UKIP is that by focusing on the very serious issue of immigration - which really must be controlled - the party left itself open to accusations it was racist.

Had it campaigned on immigration as a secondary issue, and it's anti-nanny state as the main issue, then I think it's numbers would have swelled and those who might have joined would not have been put off because of the racist slurs which were inevitable to any party looking to tackle the issue of immigration on the grounds of space not race.

Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 13:05 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Very well and comprehensively said, Pat. I agree with every word.

Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 14:40 | Unregistered CommenterLyn Ladds

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