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Bill to ban smoking in hospital grounds an "abuse of parliamentary time" says Forest

Tue 29th January, 2019

Forest has criticised a proposed bill that would make it an offence to smoke on NHS sites in England.
Responding to a Ten Minute Rule Bill being put forward today by Tracy Brabin, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, said:
“Introducing a law to ban smoking on hospital grounds would be an abuse of parliamentary time. 
“The overwhelming majority of NHS trusts already have smoke free policies that include on site smoking bans.
“Individual trusts, not high-minded politicians in Westminster, should be allowed to decide their policy on smoking and the extent to which they enforce a ban, partial or otherwise.
“Threatening to prosecute people for smoking on hospital grounds is not only disproportionate to the offence, it would discriminate against the elderly and the infirm who may find it difficult if not impossible to go off site.
“Hospitals can be stressful places and for some people smoking is a comfort at a difficult time. Patients especially have a right to expect some empathy and compassion. 
“A bill that bans smoking on NHS sites is no way to treat people who may be at their lowest ebb.”

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