So this is how the NHS will care for patients who smoke in the 21st century
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 6:30
Simon Clark

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.

Article originally appeared on Simon Clark (
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