Announcing plans to go smoke-free

The Trust is planning to go smoke-free across its sites in March 2016

TEWV are planning to go smoke-free across our sites in March 2016.

The Trust has been working on the plans in recent months following the publication of NICE recommendations and guidelines which highlight high smoking rates and lower life expectancy rates amongst those living with mental health problems. The guidelines require all mental health providers to become smoke free.

Since the 1950’s life expectancy and health has improved for the general population but has remained the same for patients with mental health illnesses. This is mainly due to preventable diseases caused by lifestyle factors, many of which relate to smoking.

Dr Nick Land, medical director and chair of the Trust smoking cessation programme said: “We can’t allow this health inequality to continue, we have a duty of care to our service users and by going smoke-free we aim to significantly increase the life expectancy for people with mental health problems across our Trust areas.”

As well as physical health improvements for service users we also hope to see a further improvement in people's mental health, as evidence shows that stopping smoking can improve your mood, reduce anxiety, stress and depression and in turn improve quality of life and potentially reduce the need for increased levels of medication.

Dr Nick Land added: “This is a significant piece of work that impacts a number of areas. We understand that service users, their families and staff may have questions and concerns about this. We are working with other Trusts who have already gone smoke-free to learn from their experiences, whilst also working with our own staff and service users to ensure we address their concerns.”

We are looking at a range of nicotine replacement therapy options available and Trust clinical staff are currently completing very brief advice (VBA) smoking cessation training, with a number also completing a higher level of training. This will enable staff to assess patients and help them choose, and provide them, with nicotine replacement products.

As the smoke-free programme develops we will provide full support to service users and their families, as well as to our staff and there will be literature and information available regarding plans and the options and support available.