Smoking prevalence in the UK continues to fall, but in 2017/18 there were an estimated 489,300 hospital admissions attributable to smoking. Research shows that there is an increase in risk from smoking for more than 100 diseases, including 22 types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, mental health and complications of surgery.
Blackpool and some areas of Fylde and Wyre have very high numbers of smoking-related hospital admissions.
Now the Trust is launching a new service from Monday, 4 April – the Inpatient Smoking Cessation Service – to help patients who are visiting the organisation’s hospitals and who are smokers, to stop smoking.
Shane Faulkner, Service Manager for Long Term Conditions at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said: “Smoking puts patients at risk of complications and can even delay recovery after hospital procedures.
“Smokefree hospitals and grounds, as we have at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, also create a smokefree environment for people trying to stop smoking, and removes triggers that can cause people to smoke or relapse.
“Stopping smoking is one of the best things people can do to improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that most people who come into hospital who smoke, want to quit.
“However, quitting on your own is hard and we now recognise that smoking is a chronic, relapsing medical condition – not a lifestyle choice – which should be treated just like any other disease or illness.”
Once the service has launched, patients who smoke and are due to come into hospital will be met during their visit by the Trust’s Inpatient Specialist Stop Smoking Practitioners who will give details of the support available.
A smoking assessment will be carried out and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) offered to help alleviate nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
The Stop Smoking Practitioners will support patients while in hospital, but can also refer people to the Trust’s Community Stop Smoking Services for those who wish to continue their ‘quit journey’ once they have been discharged.
On discharge, patients will receive one week’s supply of prescribed NRT, and can be referred to either the Blackpool Tobacco Addiction Service (for Blackpool residents) or Quit Squad (for Fylde and Wyre residents) for support in the community. Patients who then set a quit date will receive up to 12 weeks’ support including one-to-one advice.
Stopping smoking can have many benefits, from improving mental wellbeing, lowering the risk of long-term smoking-related disease and saving money.
Dr Jim Gardner, Medical Director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, added: “Our smokefree service is not just rules about not smoking on hospital sites, it’s about actively treating patients’ addiction to tobacco.
“What is great about the support from the BTH Inpatient Smokefree Service is that we have Specialist Stop Smoking Practitioners on site to help really integrate tobacco addiction treatment into our patients’ routine care.
“We are really looking forward to making a positive difference to everyone’s health.”