Mayo General stubs out smoking on hospital grounds

Mayo General Hospital will be a completely smoke free zone from next Wednesday, March 5.

The hospital is introducing its new policy on National No Smoking Day, and banning smoking anywhere on its grounds, including entrances, doorways, walkways, internal roads, car parks, and in parked cars.

Although the new policy is not enshrined in law, like the national smoking in the workplace ban, it is instead a softer approach and the next “logical step” in the battle against cancer causing tobacco, according to a HSE spokesperson.

The policy will apply to all staff, patients, visitors, contractors, and anyone who enters the hospital buildings and grounds.

Mayo General is the latest in a raft of hospitals which have already introduced smoke free campuses, including Galway University Hospital, which went smoke-free in 2012 and Roscommon Hospital, which brought in the ban last month.

The HSE aims to see all hospital campuses smoke-free by 2015.

Manager at the hospital, Charlie Meehan, said the policy may take some time to implement fully but the experience of other hospitals which have introduced smoke-free campuses has been “very positive” and the majority of people are supportive of the idea.

“We will be able to grant exemptions to the policy for patients in certain circumstances with the input from their consultant,” he added.

Patients at the hospital will also get support to quit.

“Most smokers want to quit and most also would prefer that they never started smoking in the first place,” said Dr Michael O’Neill, clinical director at Mayo General. “We will be supporting patients who want to quit smoking and we will be offering smoking cessation advice and support to patients to help them quit smoking or to manage their addiction during their hospital stay.”

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