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Countdown to a Smoke Free Campus at Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe

Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe (PHB) is introducing a smoke free campus policy on Monday 02 December.
From this date it will no longer be possible to smoke anywhere on the hospital grounds, for example entrances, doorways, walkways, internal roads, car parks, cars, bicycle shelters etc.
As a leading healthcare provider, PHB is committed to reducing the use of tobacco and its harmful health effects. PHB aims to create a healthier, smoke free, clean environment for its patients, staff and visitors.
The policy will apply to all staff, patients, visitors, contractors and anyone who enters the hospital buildings / grounds.
Dr Joel Kavanagh, Consultant Medicine Physician, PHB says, “Everyone understands the health implications of smoking – emphysema, heart disease, lung cancers.  But these are mainly illnesses of people over 50 years of age when chronic illness strikes.  I think we need to focus and help convince younger men and women to stop smoking. It is difficult to get the message across regarding the long term health benefits when these are decades away for a 30 year old smoker.  I think it’s important to highlight the personal economic benefits of stopping smoking.
“Smoking 20 cigarettes a day for one year in Ireland equates to at least €3,200 a year. If this statistic is highlighted alongside some images of the lungs of patients with cancer, I believe more younger smokers would take heed and reconsider their tobacco purchase next time they’re in the shop.
“We need to focus on youth smoking reduction, the teenagers and those in their early twenties as this will reap benefits for the population and the Irish health system several years down the road with reductions in those previous mentioned diseases.
“PHB offers support for patients who are current smokers, young and old, to get professional advice in proven ways to break the nicotine habit.”
Chris Kane, A/General Manager says, “We realise that the introduction of a Smoke Free Campus policy will take time to implement fully but the experience of the other hospitals which have introduced this policy has been very positive and we believe that the majority of people will support the implementation of the new policy.
“We will be able to grant exemptions to the policy for patients in certain circumstances with the input from their Consultant. In this way we may make exceptions for the most vulnerable patients while also encouraging all other patients to adopt healthier tobacco-free lifestyles in order to decrease the incidence of smoking related disease. Providing a smoke free environment sends a clear message that this hospital is committed to protecting and promoting the health of our patients, staff and all who visit Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe.”