HOSPITAL grounds across Scotland have become smoke-free zones from today.
Patients, visitors and staff who smoke will now have to leave the grounds before they light up.
The policy, which also covers health centres and other NHS buildings, has been adopted across the health service at the request of the Scottish Government.
Smoking in hospital grounds could also become a statutory offence under proposals to include the measure in a new bill on public health.
Public health minister Maureen Watt said: “Smoke-free hospital grounds have been an ambition of this Government for a number of years and I’m pleased that this day has now arrived.
“Hospitals are places where people go for rest, recuperation and recovery, and it’s quite right that they should be smoke-free.
“I welcome all the hard work that has been put in by NHS boards around the country to lead by example and make this a reality.
“Tobacco remains the biggest cause of preventable death in Scotland, which is why we want to create a tobacco-free generation by 2034.
“Measures like smoke-free hospital grounds play their part in creating a culture change on tobacco and discouraging people from taking up the habit in the first place.
“I’d appeal to all patients and visitors to respect the health of others and wait until you’ve left the grounds before lighting up.”
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