We are a smokefree NHS trust

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust became smokefree in January 2007. This means that smoking is prohibited in all areas of the trust, including all buildings, doorways, grounds, and car parks.

Patients and visitors may vape in outside areas, away from entrances and windows.

Why smokefree?

The trust has a smokefree policy in place, aiming to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of all patients, visitors, our colleagues, and contractors on our sites.

Smoking puts patients at risk of complications and delays their recovery after hospital procedures. Having a smokefree environment for people trying to stop smoking, removes triggers that cause many to smoke or relapse to smoking.

What to expect when you come into hospital

Stopping smoking is one of the best things people can do to improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that most people who come into hospital who smoke, want to stop.

It’s hard to quit smoking on your own. This is because smoking is an addiction to the nicotine in tobacco – an addiction that, for most people, starts in childhood.

We now recognise that smoking is a chronic, relapsing condition, and not a lifestyle choice, which should be treated just like any other illness.

Fortunately, there are very effective treatments. Through our tobacco reduction service, these will now be offered to you, along with stop smoking support, when you come into hospital.

So, if you’re a patient who smokes, we’re here to help.

Support for patients who smoke

If you are a patient who smokes and are due to come into hospital, our tobacco reduction practitioners will visit you and discuss the support available to you while you are in hospital.

We want you to feel comfortable while you are with us, but we understand that many smokers are likely to feel uncomfortable in a non-smoking environment. Therefore, all patients who smoke will receive a visit from a tobacco reduction practitioner, who will carry out a smoking assessment and offer Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to help alleviate your nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

The team will support you during your stay in hospital, and can offer a referral to Smokefreelife Somerset for those who wish to continue their quit journey when they return home after being discharged.

What will happen when I’m discharged?

On discharge, patients who wish to continue abstaining from smoking will receive one week’s supply of prescribed Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and a referral to Smokefreelife Somerset for stop smoking support in the community.

Patients who set a quit date will receive up to 12-weeks support, including Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and one-to-one support to increase their chances of quitting.

Why quit?

There are many benefits associated with stopping smoking, and everyone has their own reason to quit. Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do to improve your overall health and boost your finances:

  • Improve your mental wellbeing by reducing anxiety and discomfort caused by withdrawal symptoms
  • Lower your risk of getting a long-term smoking-related disease (such as heart disease, cancer, COPD, high blood pressure, and stroke)
  • Have more money to spend on you and your family (on average a 20-a-day smoker spends more than £3,500 a year)
  • Get health benefits shortly after stopping smoking (e.g. your blood pressure will show improvements after just 20 minutes smokefree).

It’s never too late to stop smoking, even if you have a long-term condition, such as heart or lung disease.

While it isn’t possible to reverse the damage caused by smoking, you’ll gain numerous health benefits and generally feel better if you stop smoking.

If you’re over 35, the risk of developing a long-term smoking-related health condition, increases. The good news is that the sooner you quit, the more you’ll prevent the onset of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, vascular disease, and respiratory disease (e.g. COPD), and a whole range of cancers.

The NHS website has lots of information on the benefits of quitting smoking – for you and for those around you.

Within days of quitting smoking you’ll experience:

  • A drop in heart rate
  • Carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in blood return to normal (similar to those who’ve never smoked)
  • Your sense of taste and smell improving.

Within weeks you’ll benefit from:

  • A reduction in the risk of sudden death from a heart attack
  • Improvement in lung function
  • Less coughing and shortness of breath
  • Fewer severe asthma attacks.

Within a few months you’ll experience:

  • An improvement in symptoms of chronic bronchitis (phlegm, wheezing, shortness of breath)
  • Less risk of ulcers.

Benefits within a year of quitting include:

  • Risks of coronary heart disease (CHD) cut by half
  • An improvement in lung function among people with mild to moderate COPD.

Giving up smoking could really change your life – and we’re here to support you.