Mental health and learning disability sites to go smoke-free

Hywel Dda university Health Board have announced plans for all their mental health and learning disability sites to go smoke free. The Health Board issued the following statement:  

To protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, patients and visitors, all our mental health and learning disability sites will go entirely smoke-free from 1 September 2022.

This includes all residential units, wards, buildings, grounds and vehicles on our sites.

This will mean that patients will no longer be able to bring tobacco products into hospital, and family and friends are kindly requested to not bring these items in for patients when visiting.

Smoking is the leading cause of avoidable illness and early death in Wales and people with mental health conditions are much more likely to be smokers.

Smoking can contribute to the severity of mental health conditions, and is one of the leading causes of reduced life expectancy for people with mental health conditions.

Stopping smoking has a positive impact on mental health. Evidence shows that stopping smoking leads to improved mood and quality of life, as well as reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Jo McCarthy, Deputy Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “This is great news for everyone across our three counties however we know this may be challenging for our patients and staff, and we can offer help and support to those that need it.

“Staff will be supported to have a conversation about smoking habits with all patients on arrival, offer replacement therapies (including options like nicotine patches and lozenges) and talk about the other support available.

“This will include help with cravings and ways to support patients to stay smoke-free.

“As part of a care plan, patients will also be offered personal support from a specialist adviser from the Smoking and Well-being Team.”

Anyone who would like help giving up smoking can contact the team for support by calling 0330 303 9652 or visiting https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/smoking-and-well-being-team/

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