A “truly tobacco-free NHS” needs to be created to help smoker patients quit their habit, health officials say. Only one in 10 hospitals enforces a smoking ban outside health service buildings, and Public Health England (PHE) wants all hospitals to offer help to quit as part of patients’ treatment. More than a million smokers are admitted to NHS hospitals every year. PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie said it was not about “forcing people” to quit, but was about “helping people”.  A recent report by the British Thoracic Society said 25% of hospital patients were recorded as being “current smokers” – which is higher than rates in the general adult population (19%).  The survey saw 14,750 patient records submitted from 146 institutions across the UK. The report said the execution of national standards in smoking cessation were “woefully lacking” within the NHS and that there was “much to do to improve smoking cessation treatment for patients in hospitals across the UK”. Its authors called for support for smokers in hospital by referring them to specialised help to quit, improving the prescription of nicotine replacement therapy, and investing in staff across all hospitals dedicated to helping people stop smoking. Mr Selbie said the plan was to give smokers who want to quit the right kind of support.  “This isn’t about forcing people. This is about helping people. And seven out of 10 say they want to quit.

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