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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

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Smokefree

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To enable us to provide a safe environment that promotes health and reduces harm from exposure to second hand smoke, all of our sites are completely smokefree. This means that smoking is not permitted on any of our sites including all buildings, grounds and vehicles.

As an NHS organisation, we have a duty to protect and care for the health and wellbeing of our patients, staff and visitors. Many of the people who access our services are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of second hand smoke, such as pregnant women, babies, children and those with medical conditions.

We recognise that smoking is personal choice and we do not discriminate against those who choose to do so. However we ask that you help us keep our buildings and grounds smokefree to protect others. If anyone is seen smoking on our premises after this date, our staff have the right to respectfully request for them to stop and extinguish their cigarette.

We know that many people are giving up smoking by switching to e-cigarettes and these have been proven to be an effective way of helping people to quit smoking completely. As e-cigarettes do not expose others to second hand smoke and offer a less harmful alternative to smoking their use is permitted within the grounds of our sites, but their use is not permitted indoors.

We've installed a button at the front of the Cumberland Infirmary, if you see someone smoking there please press this and it will play a reminder that they cannot smoke on site - You can find out more here. 


Patient Story - 

“I started smoking when I was 13 years old and at school, all my friends were doing it and I wanted to fit in. One day we got caught having a crafty smoke and I got in a lot of trouble with my parents and teachers. I didn’t smoke again until I went to college after that. I don’t know why I started again, I think it was because everyone was doing it so I joined in.

“I hated smoking at first, it even made me sick, so why I continued must only be down to how addictive cigarettes are.

“After college I got a job, a good job, but it was high pressure and smoking helped me relax, those were in the days you could smoke inside too and absolutely everyone else in my office smoked.

“Fast-forward a few years and all of the friends I started smoking with at college had stopped. I knew I had to stop, I knew the health risks associated with smoking but I continued.

“At 46 years old I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news was devastating. I was told I needed a mastectomy and my surgeon, in no uncertain terms, told me to stop smoking. That was when I felt I need a cigarette the most. In my mind, I thought, well, I’ve got cancer now so why bother stopping?

 “At my diagnosis I was offered no support to stop smoking, no nicotine replacement therapy and no advice. I was just told to stop. One of the nurses was much more compassionate and said I needed to stop but today probably wasn’t the day.

“In December 2015 I had my operation. I was still a smoker despite the warnings from doctors, nurses and surgeons. No support was offered to stop smoking.

“In February 2016 I started my chemotherapy. It made me very unwell and I was hospitalised for three – four days after each session. Still I smoked.

“While I was in having chemotherapy I met another lady having the same treated. She was a smoker and recommended I try an e-cigarette. I was unsure but it was the first time anyone had offered me a viable alternative. Talking through quitting with her really helped and she was a significant part of me quitting.  

“I used the e-cigarette and began to cut down. I was still smoking but much less than before.

“I finished my chemotherapy in June 2016. It was a relief to be over but with breast cancer you are never told you are ‘cancer free’ because it could come back.   

 “I wanted reconstructive surgery but it is not available to current smokers. I met with my surgeon and told her I was going to stop. It took some convincing but I was adamant that by the date of my surgery I would no longer smoke. The surgeon booked me in for an assessment in February 2017.

“The morning of my initial assessment I had my last ever cigarette. My surgeon said I would be booked in for one month’s time and given various test to see if I was still a smoker. If I was the operation would not go ahead.

“I successfully stopped smoking in February 2017. I use an e-cigarette but a nicotine free one. Stopping smoking is hard. Temptation is everywhere and you need support. My partner stopped at the same time as me which was a huge help.

“Every smoker knows they need to stop, they know it’s bad for their health and they know that one day it will kill them. Telling people they need to stop doesn’t help. Support should be available to smokers, e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement should be available to everyone who smokes.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped me;  my friend who encouraged me to stop, my surgeon who provisionally booked my ops which helped me to pick a date and my partner who stopped with me. I hope my story inspires other people to quit. It can feel impossible but, with the right support, you can do it.” 

The dangers of smoking are well publicised and if you still chose to smoke please do so off Trust property. If you decide you would like to quit, support and help is available. Even if you don’t decide to quit, inpatients can receive free temporary nicotine replacement.

You can go to any pharmacy and they can offer help and advice or online at www.nhs.uk/smokefree or call 0300 123 1044