Letterkenny General and St Conal’s Hospital Campus is to introduce a Tobacco Free Campus Policy next week, as revealed by Donegal Daily last month.
The HSE has set a target of introducing the Tobacco Free Campus Policy to all healthcare sites by 2015, and we will introduce this policy at Letterkenny General and St Conal’s Hospital Campus on Thursday, 13th September. From that date, no one will be permitted to use tobacco products anywhere on campus.
The HSE says that as the leading healthcare provider in Donegal, Letterkenny General & St Conal’s Hospital Campus is committed to reducing the use of tobacco and its harmful health effects.
“We aim to create a healthier tobacco-free environment for our service users/patients, staff and visitors, in line with our hospital status as a National Health Promoting Hospital and a European Smoke-Free Hospital. The policy applies to all staff, patients, visitors, contractors and anyone who enters the campus grounds,” said the HSE today.
Dr. Santhosh David, Consultant Cardiologist, LGH, says; “Tobacco use, namely cigarette smoking is the single biggest cause of ill-health and death in our society. It is the single biggest cause of cancer and chronic chest diseases and is a significant cause of cardiovascular disease and exacerbation of diabetes.
“Even if you do not smoke, frequent exposure to other people’s tobacco smoke, i.e. ‘second hand smoking’, increases your risk of developing heart disease and increases the risk of triggering an attack in those with existing heart disease.
“This major cause of illness, chronic disability and death is preventable, yet accounts for some 5,500 deaths in Ireland each year. Most people want to quit and most also would prefer that they never started smoking in the first place,” Dr. Santhosh adds.
Martina McDaid, Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse, LGH, states; “We are serious about treating tobacco use as a care issue, as an addiction, and not as a lifestyle choice, and we provide support and treatments for people who want or need to quit here on campus and in the community.
“Service users who currently use tobacco are encouraged to talk to their GP or Pharmacist on the treatments and supports available prior to admission. We advise those being admitted to inform their doctor and nurse of their tobacco use as early as possible during the admission process. We will provide smoking cessation advice, treatment and support to those who want to quit. For those who are not ready to quit on admission, we will provide treatments to assist them to manage their addiction during their hospital stay.”
“The HSE Tobacco Free Campus Policy has been successfully introduced in a number of other hospitals, including St Vincent’s University Hospital, Galway University Hospitals, Mid West Regional Hospital and Cork University Hospital. At Letterkenny General and St Conal’s Hospital Campus, we want to send out a clear message that we are committed to protecting and promoting the health of our service users, staff and all who visit the hospital campus.”
Reacting to the news today, one smoking worker told us: “Looks like the new smoking area is going to be alongside the N56.:”