As part of a renewed drive to reduce both litter and smoking on the hospital’s grounds, the UHB has undertaken a unique decision to commence a joint role with the City of Cardiff Council to employ a No Smoking and Waste Enforcement Officer for 30 hours a week. This will allow the post holder to issue Fixed Penalty Notices of £80 to anyone caught dropping litter under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 – as well as continuing to challenge smokers under the UHB’s No Smoking Policy.
While waste from food packaging contributes to the total amount of litter on site, the main source is cigarette butts, which collect in huge numbers around the hospital’s main entrances, including the maternity and children’s units.
These discarded butts are extremely unpleasant and expensive to clear up. However, a major problem with people smoking on site is that patients, many of whom are already very ill or vulnerable, are breathing toxic second-hand smoke, potentially causing them further harm.
This arrangement between the City of Cardiff Council and the UHB will combine two previous roles of challenging smokers and waste enforcement and with over 4000 smokers approached in the last year, this innovative new role will certainly ensure the new officer will be busy!
Director of Public Health Dr Sharon Hopkins welcomes the news: “Most people understand why smoking on hospital grounds is not permitted and are respectful of our policy.
“The build-up of cigarette butts sends the message that smoking is acceptable on site, but this could not be further from the truth. We are pleased to work with the council to make this message loud and clear.”
By taking this proactive approach to reduce smoking on its hospital site, Cardiff and Vale UHB is anticipating the ratification of the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017, which when passed into law, will make it illegal to smoke on hospital grounds.
If you’re a smoker who’s thinking about quitting, the NHS can offer you free support to achieve your goal via the Help Me Quit service. To find out more, visit www.helpmequit.wales, call 0800 085 2219, or text “HMQ” to 80818.