Anti-smoking laws in the UK mean that smoking is not allowed in various places including on buses, in pubs, in shops and in hospitals. NHS trusts in the UK tend to operate a non-smoking policy not just inside hospitals but in the grounds.
Wednesday Scotland has announced plans to extend their ban on smoking in hospital grounds to E Cigarettes.
News that NHS trusts across Scotland will need to comply with an E Cigarette ban in hospital grounds by April 1 will cause bosses another headache.
Operating and policing a smoking ban in hospital grounds has proved difficult especially in some trusts.
Working for the NHS for 13 years at two local hospitals was an eye-opener.
Many of those dying for a cig were either patients or staff rather than visitors.
Watching the march of the drip stands around 7am or at night was frightening. Patients so desperate for a smoke but made to partake away from the hospital grounds would drag their drip stands behind them as they headed for the main road. Most wore their bed clothes, and some not enough to keep warm. And the main hospital is in a 'seedy' part of the city.
To be fair hospital wards did offer patients and staff help to quit smoking such as counselling or nicotine patches but some just continued to smoke on.
Visitors who take cigarettes into hospital for patients to light up are partly to blame. Would you take cigarettes in for a loved one in hospital? I refused point blank when my husband was in hospital; I did not want him to be part of the march of the drip stands.
But although he stayed smoke free for a few days when discharged home it did not last.
In the end it is down to the person to quit but what if they can't or won't?
Some smokers have switched to E Cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking tobacco. The jury is out on the possible health hazards of these E cigs but they must surely be healthier than nicotine?
If Scotland is anything like local hospital trusts though staff will be the worst offenders on site. Senior nursing staff hiding their uniforms under an outdoor coat as they shuffle off to take a 'fag break'.
These breaks are sometimes taken from their official breaks but there will always be some who win out.
And staff often know sneaky nooks and crannies on site where they will disappear for a while to have a smoke.
If they obey the rules and go off site that can leave a ward in a precarious state.But if patients have to go off site then so must staff.
All in all it is a contentious issue.
The UK is so anti-smoking these days it treats those who still puff away worse than an alcoholic or drug abuser.
With Bristol launching no smoke areas outdoors it is surely time for the government to ban all smoking any place and be done with it. But of course they will not as there is money in smoking.
Note: This writer quit smoking, and she did it cold turkey, around 30 years ago. It was tough but if I can do it so can any other person with the will.
My husband quit smoking 12-weeks ago after being a smoker for more than 50 years. He used the NHS quit smoking service and took a drug called Champix. That treatment ends soon but hopefully he has quit for good.
If you are a UK resident and want to quit smoking but are finding it difficult speak with your local pharmacist or GP for advice and help.