Scots could face fines for smoking on hospital grounds

Wednesday 9th October 2019

Patients, staff and visitors could face fines for smoking on hospital grounds under new changes being proposed by the Scottish Government.

Ministers want to stop the ‘continued flouting’ of policies asking people not to smoke on NHS premises.

Patient and staff groups have complained about people having a smoke being the first thing they see at a time when one in four of all deaths in Scotland are attributable to tobacco.

As well as the size of the area where lighting up will be banned, a consultation launched today asks whether vaping should be allowed on NHS land.

Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “The smoke-free grounds policy has had some impact but has not been sufficient to end the practice of smoking around hospitals.

“Smoking remains the most significant cause of ill health in Scotland - leading to up to 100,000 hospitalisations per year and more than 9,000 premature deaths.

“Our hospitals need to be seen as accessible, open places which promote good health and lifestyle choices. Every aspect of life there should reflect that.”

Sheila Duffy, head of anti-tobacco campaign group ASH Scotland, welcomed the move to extend smoke-free spaces and said it would make the health service more "joined-up and health-promoting". 

She said: "A 15 metre smoke-free perimeter will ensure that people who are ill and whose health is vulnerable while they are recovering in hospital will be protected from toxic smoke drift through windows, doorways and ventilation systems"