South Australia - SMOKING will be banned on the grounds of all public hospitals from May 31, 2010..

September 25, 2009 - In South Australia (SA, S.A.) smoking will be banned on the grounds of all public hospitals from May 31, 2010. The introduction of the bans will coincide with World No Tobacco Day.

Nurses in uniform and patients in gowns have been a common sight smoking outside hospitals since lighting up indoors was banned in the 1970s. Under the new rules, staff and patients will be offered "at-cost", or free, nicotine replacement therapy but the blanket ban seems certain to push some smokers out to the footpaths.

In 2007, after Sydney hospitals implemented a similar ban, some patients in pyjamas and carrying drips and catheters chose to defy the order and smoke in the grounds, rather than with pedestrians. (Patients flout hospital smoking bans for hospital grounds, Daniel Dasey, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/8/2007)

SA Health chief executive Dr Tony Sherbon said the new policy would help protect staff, patients and visitors from passive smoking. Sherbon: "Smoking is responsible for around 1100 deaths in SA each year, and is the leading cause of preventable disease and death." The effects of smoking put a tremendous burden on our health system. Breathing in second-hand smoke can particularly affect vulnerable individuals such as young children, pregnant women and people who suffer from pre-existing respiratory conditions."

The new policy is the final nail in the coffin for smoking on hospital grounds. Dr Sherbon said any staff assessed as nicotine dependent would be offered counselling and discounted nicotine replacement therapy up to twice a year.

Inpatients were likely to be offered the therapy for free, until they were discharged. The clampdown on smoking began in the late 1960s when patients lost the right to smoke in bed. With concerns about the increased use of oxygen, which is highly flammable, smoking was moved to corridors and other designated areas in the 1970s, before being moved outside in the same decade.

Drug and Alcohol Services SA spokeswoman Marina Bowshall said she expected some people would quit because the new policy made smoking too hard for them. "There is evidence that when you introduce smoke-free areas, you do get a decrease in the number of people smoking in the community," she said yesterday.

"The SA public is strongly supportive of smoke-free areas and self-enforce.

"There won't be a heavy-handed approach."

Ms Bowshall said mental health and aged-care properties would be able to apply for exemptions from the ban for up to 12 months.

Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Elizabeth Dabars said her union had been consulted on the policy and members seemed supportive.

Quit SA manager David Edwards said even patients who chose not to quit would benefit from going without cigarettes for the duration of their hospital stay. "The SA Government should be congratulated for this," Mr Edwards said.

Royal Adelaide Hospital sterilising services worker Peter Fabbro said he would not mind the new rule because it would encourage healthier living. "I know that it will probably stop me from smoking as much as what I do now," he said yesterday. "It just makes it harder. "Most staff and patients will be happy with this, I think. But, at the end of the day, it is government land and if they really want to stop smoking at hospitals, they will."

The SmokeFree Australia coalition yesterday called for all Australian governments to make all workplaces smoke-free, including outdoors, after new studies showed smoke-free laws reduce heart attacks by even more than previously thought.

Reference: Smoking to be banned on public hospital grounds, JILL PENGELLEY, BEN HARVY,, 9/25/2009.

Australia - hospitals related news brief: Australia - smoking bans must be enforced, especially at hospitals...



September 26, 2009 at 10:46 AM

If outdoor smoking is much healthier, what sense does it make to drive smokers into hiding indoors?????