Hospitals forced to install shelters and bins after smokers ignore rules
- Credit: Rubbish Walks Facebook Page
Smoking shelters and bins have been installed at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals after fears that littered cigarette butts were effecting neighbours.
The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) has been forced to introduce the measures despite the ‘smoke free’ policy on all hospital sites.
The trust has acknowledged that despite the strict rules, smokers are leaving cigarette butts on the very edges of the sites and said it was concerned about the effect on people living next to the hospitals.
Paul Fenton, ESNEFT director of estates and facilities, said: “For this reason, we have decided to install more bins and some smoking shelters on the perimeters of our sites.
“Inside the shelters we will be signposting to smoking cessation services.
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“These will be in place on the Ipswich Hospital site this month, and at Colchester Hospital in the coming weeks.”
Jason Alexander, known as Wildlife Gadget Man, led his latest campaign ‘Blitz the Butt’ in September after years of litter picking around Suffolk and is now working with the trust.
He has picked up thousands of butts from ESNEFT sites and said the shelters and bins were a “step in the right direction”.
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“Before, the biggest issues was the blanket NHS guidance which allowed no smoking on site,” he added.
“However, we are now working together and have a number of ideas in the pipeline.
“One off campaigns don’t work in the longer term because people tend to fall back into old habits after a while, so developing a more practical and robust approach will tackle the problem.
“I am really pleased to see changes being suggested and finding proactive ways of getting smokers to dispose of the butts responsibly.”
The smoking shelters will have social distancing information in place so smokers can stay two metres apart – although this limits the number of smokers using the shelters, the bins will be available for everyone.
The trust says it is committed to keeping its sites smoke-free and supporting people who want to quit smoking.
Mr Alexander says there are plans in the future for the chance to take part in a recycling scheme which would use old cigarette buts to create new products such as sunglasses.