A consultation on the introduction of a legally enforceable no-smoking area around hospital buildings has launched.

Although the introduction of no-smoking areas, fines and penalties for smoking or permitting others to smoke outside hospital buildings are now in law, the size and placing of no-smoking areas and the wording of signs has still to be set out in legislation. The consultation provides an opportunity for those affected to provide their views on the details of these aspects so that legislation can be made on these.

The consultation seeks views on:

  • details around this including the distance from a hospital building which will form the no-smoking area, 
  • whether overhanging structures should be included in that area, 
  • the wording of signs, 
  • whether any buildings should be exempted,
  • if only buildings used wholly or partly as hospitals should be included, if pathways should be included, 
  • whether any particular groups will be disproportionately impacted.

As well as seeking views on the above, the consultation will ask for opinions on the use of Nicotine Vapour Products (NVPs) – including electronic cigarettes – on hospital grounds but outwith no-smoking areas. The answers will have no legal bearing but will provide information on the level of support for a Scotland-wide approach to the use of NVPs as an alternative to smoking on hospital grounds.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“The smoke-free grounds policy has had some impact but has not been sufficient to end the practice of smoking around hospitals.

“Smoking remains the most significant cause of ill health in Scotland  – leading to up to 100,000 hospitalisations per year and more than 9,000 premature deaths.

“Our hospitals need to be seen as accessible, open places which promote good health and lifestyle choices. Every aspect of life there should reflect that.”

The Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 amended sections of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 (“the 2005 Act”) to provide for offences to be introduced in respect of smoking around hospital buildings. 

As a result, the 2005 Act now provides for the introduction of formal no-smoking areas outside hospital buildings and for offences of allowing smoking in these areas and of smoking in these areas.   The Act gives the Scottish Ministers powers to make secondary legislation (“Regulations”) to finalise the details before these provisions can be brought into force.  

Prohibiting smoking outside hospital buildings consultation closes on 10 Jan 2020.