It’s World No Tobacco Day on Sunday (May 31) and Barnsley Hospital will be celebrating one year since going smokefree across its entire site.

Since then, people have not been permitted to smoke within any area of Barnsley Hospital. Specially designed smoke-free posters – featuring photos including a local lung cancer patient and midwives – were unveiled at the launch. Information displays and signage are now prominent around the hospital, particularly in the maternity department where there is a focus on stopping smoking in pregnancy.

All smokers admitted as patients are now advised that the site is smokefree and as part of their hospital care and treatment they are offered nicotine replacement therapy and referred to local stop smoking services. This is part of a regional smoke-free initiative called QUIT.

Kaye Mann, Healthy Lives Programme Manager at Barnsley Hospital, said there had never been a more important time to quit, especially in the light of the Quit for COVID campaign which encourages smokers to stop to reduce the risks of severe symptoms if they get Covid-19.

She said: “It’s been one year since we launched the smokefree hospital site and we would like to say a big thank you to all the staff, patients and visitors who have helped us keep the site smokefree. The one year anniversary on 31st May also coincides with World No Tobacco Day. This year’s theme for World No Tobacco day is about protecting our youth generation from the harms of tobacco. This is why we are striving to keep our site smokefree.

“By making smoking invisible we can contribute to children and people not taking up the habit as it reduces it being seen as normal activity. Most people in Barnsley don’t smoke and the numbers that do are falling all the time. Less than 2 in 10 people now smoke in the borough.

“Stopping smoking is important. Not only for your own health but to protect those around you.”

Quitting also alleviates pressure on the NHS. Smoking tobacco is known to damage the lungs and airways – causing a range of severe respiratory problems. The evidence clearly shows Covid-19 virus attacks the respiratory system, which explains why smokers are at greater risk. A small but highly impactful survey from China has found that smokers with Covid-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe disease.

For anyone wanting to quit please contact the local Stop Smoking Service on 0800 612 0011 (free from landlines) or 0330 660 1166 (free from most mobiles) or visit https://barnsley.yorkshiresmokefree.nhs.uk/ for free expert advice and support.

The joys of quitting

Once smokefree, there are very real health benefits with the body continuing to repair the longer you stay smokefree. The immediate benefits include:

  • After eight hours carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.
  • After 48 hours carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris
  • After 72 hours breathing becomes easier as bronchial tubes begin to relax
  • After 2 to 12 weeks lung function and blood circulation starts to improve, making physical activity like walking and running easier
  • After 3 to 9 months any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases further.

In the longer term, quitting is also linked to reduced depression, anxiety, and stress and improved positive mood and quality of life compared with continuing to smoke.

Take a look at our video that celebrated our anniversary at: https://vimeo.com/423628672