Terri Chivers.JPGHampshire Hospitals staff, patients and visitors are being encouraged to make use of the Hampshire stop smoking service if they would like help to kick the habit.

From October 1, no smoking will be allowed on the grounds of any of the hospitals run by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a move will help to make sure that patients, visitors and staff are not exposed to cigarette smoke on their way into and out of hospital. Vaping and e-cigarettes will continue to be allowed to be used in outdoor spaces, away from entrances and windows.

The Trust’s drive to become smokefree coincides with the start of Stoptober, Public Health England’s annual stop smoking event – and Hampshire Hospitals is providing additional support for patients, visitors and staff who would like to give up.

Nicotine replacement products will be available for patients on the wards and can be bought from the outpatient pharmacies at both Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

The Trust is also encouraging smokers to sign up with the Hampshire stop smoking service if they would like to give up.

After smoking on and off for more than 25 years, Terri Chivers, an administrator and receptionist working at the Trust, gave up on June 10 with the help of the stop smoking service.

“I would not have been able to do it without them,” said Terri, pictured with her Quit4Life certificate. “They have lots of different options in terms of nicotine replacement therapy, I’ve found the weekly meetings really helpful and the team are great, sending me motivational texts and just being there for me if I need them.

“I used to have a really chesty cough, every single day. Since I gave up, that has totally gone and I’ve also been able to take up swimming, which there is no way I could have done before because I’d have got out of breath really quickly.

“The effect giving up has had in terms of improving my sense of taste and smell has also been amazing and I was spending between £8 and £10 on cigarettes each day, so it’s nice to have some extra money in my account. My husband also gave up recently and we have booked a holiday to Turkey, which I know we would not have been able to afford if we’d still been smoking.

“I’ve been trying to get my colleagues who smoke to sign up with the service and would encourage other people to do the same.”

Smoking costs the NHS an estimated £2billion a year, but the cost to society could be as much as £13.8billion each year. It also causes almost 80,000 premature deaths every year, and contributes to 1.7million hospital admissions.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, which runs Andover War Memorial Hospital, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, said: “As a major employer and provider of hospital services to people across Hampshire, we have a responsibility to help reduce smoking and, in turn, the serious illnesses related to it.

“We will be providing lots of additional support to help people stop smoking as part of our smokefree programme, so we hope that this initiative will also help to reduce smoking. We highly recommend the Hampshire stop smoking service, which has helped almost 3,000 Hampshire residents to stop smoking in the last year. Visit www.quit4life.nhs.uk for more information.”