North West Wales

Loudspeaker alarms used to stub out hospital smoking

Smokers who light up outside three hospitals in north Wales will trigger an alarm and loudspeaker message telling them to stop.

The warnings have been installed at the main entrances and maternity units of Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan and Wrexham Maelor.

Even lighting a match will set-off the bilingual message.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has taken the steps to create a smoke free environment.

Warning signs have also been put up to tell patients, visitors and staff that smoking is banned on the premises.

Health bosses hope the measures will lead to a "cultural change" whereby people will no longer find it acceptable to smoke outside hospital.

Andrew Jones, executive director of Public Health for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said they wanted to "practice what we preach".


He added: "It is estimated that around 1,300 deaths are caused every year across north Wales by smoking and it is the number one cause of avoidable premature death and ill health in Wales.

"We are committed to our comprehensive tobacco strategy and action plan which includes smoking cessation support for pre-operative patients, pregnant women and their partners and for people with mental health needs or chronic health conditions.

"All health boards in Wales have been asked by the Welsh government to reduce the number of people who smoke from 24% to 16% by 2020, therefore it is clear to see why reducing the number of smokers is one of our top priorities."

Prof Matthew Makin, chief of staff for the cancer and palliative medicine clinical programme group for the health board, said the warning will be polite, but firm.

He added: "I'm in no doubt that the vast majority of staff, visitors and patients want a smoke free environment and agree that people smoking outside hospital entrances is unacceptable.

"That is why we are ensuring that for staff and patients who smoke, we do everything we can to support them to give up."

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