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Smokefree Message Strong at SDHB

Smokefree Message Strong at SDHB

Sunday, 30 May 2004

Visitors and patients arriving at Southland Hospital on Monday 31 May can expect to be offered smokefree-branded peppermints, stickers, badges and keyrings as World Smokefree Day is celebrated and Southland District Health Board’s new smokefree policy comes into effect.

“From Monday, all SDHB sites will become smokefree, meaning that smoking will not be permitted anywhere on the grounds of SDHB premises by staff, patients or visitors,” says Chief Executive Officer Dr Gershu Paul.

“The health risks caused by smoking and second-hand smoke are numerous and many are deadly.

We are seeing the effects of smoking in our community every day,” he says. In Southland over 230 deaths and more than 2,200 hospitalisations per annum can be attributed to smoking. This costs SDHB more than $5.5million per annum. SDHB Chairman, Dennis Cairns says that reducing smoking and smoking related disease is a priority objective for all DHBs under the NZ Health Strategy.

"In recognition of this health priority, all DHBs have made the commitment to become smokefree by October 2004,” Mr Cairns says. “Just as important, becoming smokefree is a way for SDHB to protect our patients, visitors and staff from second-hand smoke,” he says.

The smokefree message has gained strong support from a number of clinical staff at Southland Hospital, who see the harm that smoking causes to patients every day. “It is never too late to give up the smoking habit,” says Dr Kate Bayston, Physician to Oncology.

“For every year that goes by after you stop smoking, your risk of developing a huge range of health problems, including cancers, decreases,” she says. Chief Operating Officer, Lexie O'Shea says that support is in place for inpatients and outpatients with a smoking habit through SDHB's Smoking Cessation Team.

"Patients are able to access support and advice to help them overcome nicotine cravings during their stay in hospital from SDHB’s Smoking Cessation Team. Where appropriate nicotine replacement therapy will also be prescribed," she says.

Public Health South staff will join Southland District Health Board staff to promote SDHB’s smokefree message at Southland Hospital’s main entrance on Monday 31 May between 10am and 3pm.

ENDS

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