Smoking ills

Lesley Riddoch (Opinion, 9 August) omits to point out an important reason for a smoking ban around NHS hospitals is to reduce the harm caused by tobacco and reduce needless ill health which costs the NHS millions each year.

To quote Shona Robison in Scotland's Future is Smoke Free: A Smoking Prevention Action Plan (Scottish Government, 2008): "Over the last 50 years smoking has come to be recognised as uniquely dangerous and highly addictive, killing half of long term smokers before their time. In spite of that, smoking still remains one of the principal preventable causes of illness and premature death in Scotland."

Ms Riddoch states that, for the ban to be fair, smoking should be curtailed for everyone. The NHS is leading the way as our national health organisation, attempting to change smoking culture. Local authorities and other organisations will be encouraged to follow.

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The proposed NHS smoking ban comes together with extensive support for staff and patients including provision of nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation advice.

Should we not become a bit more bold in tackling our health, which is so poor compared with Europe? Perhaps those who have training in health and have chosen to work in the health field should accept that they are expected to be role models and should demonstrate responsibility for their own health.


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