We are smoke free
Support during your stay at our hospitals
If you need to stay over in one of our hospitals, you will not be allowed to smoke anywhere on the hospital site, including outside areas. If you need support to help reduce the cravings, please speak to a member of staff who can provide you with Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
Hopefully you may decide your hospital stay is a great opportunity to stop smoking. If that’s the case, our hospital-based advisors can offer support and give you information about local services - ask staff on your ward for more information.
Visiting relatives and friends
If you are visiting a friend or relative in one of our hospitals, you will not be allowed to smoke anywhere within the hospital building or in the grounds.
If you are a patient or carer, please speak to any clinical staff member for support or contact your local stop smoking service.
Advice and support
Effects of carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide is just one of the thousands of toxic ingredients in cigarette smoke. Although widely known to be responsible for deaths due to faulty gas boilers and car exhaust fumes, fewer people are aware of its presence in tobacco smoke.
Even tiny amounts of CO in air can be dangerous. You can read more about the effects of carbon monoxide in our leaflet.
Why carbon monoxide is harmful
Carbon monoxide (CO) is just one of the thousands of toxic ingredients in cigarette smoke. Although widely known to be responsible for deaths due to faulty gas boilers and car exhaust fumes, fewer people are aware of its presence in tobacco smoke. Even tiny amounts of CO in air can be dangerous – one part in a thousand in air you breathe can be fatal.
The level of CO in inhaled cigarette smoke is very many times higher than this, though it is mixed with air when inhaled. It passes very quickly through the lungs into the blood stream, and reduces the amount of oxygen it can carry, which mean that your body cannot function normally. It even interferes with some treatments – for example radiotherapy is much less effective in tobacco smokers because of CO.
If you are pregnant
If you are pregnant and smoke, CO rapidly passes from your blood through the placenta to your baby. It also increases the chances of miscarriage and slows your baby’s growth. You should have had a CO breath test at your first midwife visit as a routine test, and if you didn’t, you must ask your midwife for this. CO monitoring is simply a routine part of good antenatal care.
Other forms of smoking
It’s also important to know that you can get even higher CO levels from smoking marihuana (cannabis) or water pipes (Shisha). Roll-ups give you exactly the same amount of CO, and it easily passes through cigarette filters. Only oral tobacco is free of CO, though is not currently licensed or recommended in the UK.
How long CO stays in your body
Nearly all CO has left your body 24 hours after your last cigarette and the damage from CO is only temporary. When you are trying to quit smoking, it is therefore helpful to have your CO level regularly measured, so you know that you are making a real and immediate difference to your health.
Are there any other causes of a high CO reading?
High readings can also be caused by a faulty gas boiler, car exhaust or paint stripper so if you haven’t been exposed to tobacco smoke, you may need to get your central heating checked. Falsely high readings can occur in people with lactose intolerance (you will usually already know if this is a problem).
How CO is measured
It is so easy to measure your CO level on a breath test – we just ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds, then blow into a small hand-held machine. This measurement is best used by someone who can explain the results to you, and exactly what they mean. Best of all, you should see a smoking cessation specialist, who knows the most effective ways to quit smoking, so please contact one of the services mentioned below. When you next come to hospital, if you are concerned ab out your exposure to tobacco smoke (including second hand smoke) ask for your CO level to be checked.
Public health videos
Midwife and baby - 94 seconds
Midwife Tracey Owen explains how smoking can harm your baby and even lead to miscarriage and other birth complications.
Smoking after delivery - 76 seconds
Health visitor Ruth Oshikanlu talks about why you should stay an ex-smoker when you become a parent.
Triggers for childhood asthma - 4mins 14secs
Asthma is a chronic condition causing cough, breathlessness and wheezing. An expert explains the causes, symptoms and treatments of asthma in children, and how the condition can affect them.
How smoking affects appearance - 3mins 34 secs
Megan is 16 and a smoker. A make-up artist transforms her appearance to demonstrate the effects that smoking will have on her body. Will the results make Megan rethink her habit?
Triggers for heart disease, British Heart Foundation: 6mins 54secs
If you smoke, you're more than twice as likely to have a heart attack than someone who doesn't. Lisa shares how she managed to quit for good, and the benefits it's brought her.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - 2mins 46secs
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. People with COPD have trouble breathing in and out, due to long-term damage to the lungs, usually because of smoking. Watch this video to find out more about COPD (bronchitis and emphysema), which affects an estimated 3 million people in the UK.
Packaging Sells, Smoking Kills - 1min 27 secs
Young people from Lancashire have taken part in a campaign to highlight the importance of standardised packaging in the fight to reduce the number of young people who take up smoking ahead of legislation for standardised packs which comes into effect from 20 May 2016.
Public health videos
Second hand smoke “Stepping Out” - 6mins 16secs
A short film about the harms of secondhand smoke and the positive impact of smokefree homes.
Smoking in cars is banned - 58secs
Since 1 October 2015 it has been illegal to smoke in a vehicle with anyone under 18. This short animation tells people about the change in the law in England and Wales.