Campaign launched for 'tobacco-free' NHS by Public Health England

Public Health England is campaigning for a 'tobacco-free NHS'. Credit: Jonathan Brady / PA

A campaign for a complete ban on smoking in all NHS buildings and grounds has been launched by Public Health England (PHE).

PHE said a "tobacco-free NHS" would encourage patients, visitors and staff to give up the habit, along with more support to help them quit.

Many hospitals are already smoke-free in their buildings and grounds but some people still flout the rules.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said "25% of patients in hospital are smokers," and a smoke-free environment would be beneficial for everyone.

He added: "I believe we can make the NHS a place that provides a supportive tobacco-free environment for patients, staff and visitors, where helping people quit is fully integrated into their treatment."

In an open letter to all NHS trusts Mr Selbie wrote: "I am asking for your help to reach smokers who are in your hospital waiting rooms, consulting rooms and beds.

"There is a clear opportunity to achieve significant short-term savings and reduce demand."

Tobacco is the single biggest cause of premature death in England, costing the NHS an estimated £2 billion every year and another £1.1 billion in social care, according to PHE.

Around seven million adults in England smoke and for every death caused by smoking there are around 20 suffering from diseases.