Smoking rates remain much higher in certain groups, such as people from a lower socioeconomic group, indigenous people, people with mental health problems or other drug and alcohol problems. People who choose to smoke often suffer from serious illness and become hospitalised
It is important to provide a healthy smoke free environment for the vulnerable members of our community such as children babies and pregnant mothers, as well as people with respiratory problems. It’s also important to keep our facilities smoke free to support people who are trying to quit smoking, often because of a health scare.
In 2013, Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) decided to clear the air at its hospitals from environmental tobacco smoke. Central Coast Health Promotion Service has been involved in the monitoring and enforcement of the CCLHD smoke-free by-law since implementation.
How did we do it?
While Central Coast Health Promotion has an important role in achieving smoke free compliance, everyone has a role. It is only through strong partnerships and lasting commitment that we have been gradually seeing improvement. Public Health have partnered us and Security in doing regular smoke free compliance rounds, And Public Health have chaired the Smoke Free Working Groups which have brought together representatives from both hospital sites and many different disciplines such as nursing, pharmacy, education and training etc. Thanks go out to all those disciplines, but especially to security, who are so often at the coal face of tobacco compliance work.
After more than ten years of asking people not to smoke around hospitals, it’s not unreasonable that we have now introduced fines for blatant examples of smoking on hospital grounds. Equally we are being as supportive as possible by providing comprehensive signage, loud speaker advice, nicotine vending machines for visitors, and a range of different types of NRT for patients.
Continued implementation and enforcement of CCLHD smoke-free by-law occurs through:
- Smoking counts are conducted quarterly for a two-hour period in high-profile areas of hospital grounds, to check compliance with the smoke-free by-law
- Enforcement patrols on hospital grounds are used to regularly check compliance with the smoke-free by-law, and issue warnings and fines as appropriate
- Provision of NRT gum through vending machines to support compliance with the smoke-free by-law. Vending machines are located at Gosford and Wyong hospitals in the Emergency Department to help manage the nicotine dependence of visitors.
What did we achieve?
We now have regular high profile smoking patrols, wearing high visability overcoats saying Tobacco Compliance Officer. The possibility of fines has greatly changed the response of smokers, who used to be much less keen to comply.
Our high profile smoking counts over 2 hrs each have for the first time in more than 10 years shown 2 hour episodes of no smoking at all.
- NRT vending machines – sales of NRT remain steady from the vending machines.
- We now have multiple types of NRT delivery available to patients on the ward.
- Many thanks to Pharmacy, particularly Wyong Pharmacy for their contribution.
Look out for!
Evidence shows that cessation skill training is effective at increasing smoking cessation. When health professionals are appropriately trained smoking cessation increases by 60%.
Training sessions were based on applied skills with a focus on Nicotine Replacement therapy and intervening with practical cognitive and behavioural skills using the 5A’s framework. 195 Clinicians from Gosford and Wyong have attended the sessions.
The training also focused on the NSW Health Smoke-free Health Care Policy, to guide clinicians in documenting smoking status and referring patients to ongoing support. The training was delivered by Tracey Greenberg and James McLennan, recognised smoking cessation trainers.