Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Smoking in hospitals campaign stoops to the pits

Following last week's revelation that smoking in hospitals and grounds would be a target of the new anti-tobacco strategy in Scotland, it was expected that the media would start to illustrate how vital this was. I was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland's Call Kaye last week alongside James Cant of the British Lung Foundation. He finished the interview by describing a poster at the Sick Children's Hospital depicting a child pleading with people not to smoke as the smoke enters the hospital by the windows. Oblivious to my point that several hospitals have decided that it is safer to build shelters than attempt to remove smoking completely off hospital sites on a permanent basis (in other words, they tried to ban smoking and failed), Dr Cant appears actually to blame smokers for smoke getting into hospital wards.

Another story appears today in the Record. It says that smokers are damaging the seriously ill, because they smoke outside open windows.

It is now seven years since smoking was banned in indoor public places. For the record, I don't believe for a moment that this claim of Dr Dermot Murphy holds water, but there are benighted souls out there who are terrified of secondary smoke. Does it really take them seven years to realise that the smoking ban has simply moved the problem of passive smoke exposure from one place to another?

Any damage from smoke exposure to children's recovery rates can be laid at the door of the Scottish Government for making it illegal to provide adequate smoking areas that are comfortable and attractive, that the majority of smokers will not have to be cajoled, persuaded or pestered into using. Such provision would remove the problem of doorway smoking overnight. The Scottish Government has been warned enough times about this.

The truth is that restrictions on smoking have created this problem. However much you tell people not to smoke near doorways, the urge to seek shelter is hardwired into our psyche, and not likely to lift at times of anxiety and stress. We know this: we have been watching it happen for years.

There is absolutely no need for smokers to be outside windows or doors. The solution is what we have always advocated: a comfortable, air conditioned room where coffee and snacks can be obtained and people can smoke without getting wet and cold.

But we wouldn't want smokers to feel nearly human again, would we?


Junican said...

When did anyone get authority to ban smoking in the open air? You see, people do not smoke ON hospital grounds, nor do they smoke IN hospital grounds. What they do is STAND in or on hospital grounds. They smoke in THE OPEN AIR.
The Zealots are really grasping at straws here. Do they ever take legal advice or are they just making laws up as they go along?

There is an important lack of precision in the argument for banning smoking IN or ON hospital grounds. We do not have the ability to smoke IN or ON hospital grounds. To say otherwise is similar to saying that we have the ability to breath air while submerged under water.

Michael J. McFadden said...

Perfectly stated Belinda! Make sure it gets to the folks who need to see it!!


Belinda said...

yes they make the laws up as they go along, we are talking about the Scottish Government in this case.