Smoking to be banned in local psychiatric units

Smoking will be banned in the psychiatric units in the city and county from the end of the month, the HSE announced this week. Patients and staff at the admission units in the city and Ballinasloe are being offered help to quit as the health authority prepares to implement the ban from March 31.

Area manager John Meehan said the smoking cessation campaign, within the approved units of Galway, Ballinasloe and Roscommon, will help to highlight the importance of protecting people’s physical health.

He said he appreciated how hard it is to give up smoking but stressed the benefits of quitting. “We understand that it is difficult for smokers to quit but ultimately quitting has huge health benefits for the smoker themselves and for the health of their family.

“We are appealing for people to support us. This is about improving the health of our service users and staff and ensuring quality care for all and we are appealing for support for the initiative.”

The HSE outlined as the leading healthcare provider it is committed to reducing the use of tobacco and its harmful health effects.

“As the national body responsible for health promotion, health protection and prevention of illnesses and disease, the HSE aims to create a healthy environment for our service users, visitors, employees, volunteers and everyone who comes on our campuses. Tobacco free health care settings are consistent with international best practice, providing a supportive environment for smokers to quit.

The policy will help change social norms around tobacco use, treat tobacco addiction as a health care issue, and promote smoking cessation by actively advising, encouraging and supporting people to quit smoking. This will contribute to quality care for all.”

The Tobacco Free Campus Policy applies to all staff, patients/service users, visitors, contractors and other persons who enter HSE grounds and facilities for any purpose. The policy prohibits smoking anywhere on the campus, including doorways, entrances, walkways, roads, and car parks, cars parked on HSE campus grounds, bicycle sheds and bus shelters on HSE grounds.

The HSE will continue to provide service users with the support necessary, including advice, information and smoking cessation support and tobacco dependence treatments to help deal with cravings. Staff also will be offered assistance to quit smoking or manage their smoking during working hours.

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