Staff and visitors at Forth Valley Royal Hospital are being urged to comply with no-smoking policies following concerns that litter left by smokers in the woodland surrounding the hospital is affecting wildlife. Health Promotion and Forestry Commission staff have noted an increase in cigarette butts and empty packets accumulating at newly-installed benches in the woodlands, which smokers have been using.
Forestry Commission Scotland’s local ranger Gordon Harper says the woodland is being spoiled by smokers. He explained: “I am worried by the amount of cigarette ends being left and the affect this could potentially have on the environment. The problem is being caused by both staff and visitors and the resulting damage could range from forest fires to the harming of animals.”
NHS Forth Valley is in the process of recruiting a smoking control officer who will cover Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert and the community hospitals in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire, in a bid to tackle smoking in hospital grounds.
This move follows complaints by patients, visitors and staff that areas are being polluted by people smoking. A survey carried out by the NHS Forth Valley Health Promotion team also found that respondents wanted to see a firmer stance being taken against people who smoke outside our hospitals.
The new smoking control officer will be responsible for providing health information, advice and support to encourage more people to give up smoking, and will also be responsible for monitoring and evaluating how successful these methods are.