World Without Tobacco Day: We are working on a smoke-free environment

The Maria Middelares General Hospital and nursery ‘Witje Wiebel’ are working hard this year towards a smoke-free future. Together with eleven other Flemish hospitals, we made an appeal to not allow smoking at our entrances and at other visible places such as the car park. This is a first step towards creating a smoke-free hospital environment.

Workgroup on smoke prevention

Smoking is only permitted in separate smoking pavilions that are out of sight, at meeting sites and next to the emergency room. We have a smoking prevention workgroup that tries to make the hospital as smoke-free as possible and to motivate others to stop smoking. This is why information about our smoking cessation program is also found in the smoking pavilions.

Smoking: Seeing is Doing

The call for a smoking-free hospital environment fits with the framework of the Flemish Institute for Healthy Living project ‘Smoke-free Care’. ‘Children copy behaviour, and that goes for smoking too. Thanks to the Smoke-free Care project, hospitals can model and work towards a smoke-free generation. Because “seeing is doing” says Katrijn Vandamme, a colleague at the tobacco prevention with Healthy Living.

Step by step towards a legal smoke-free hospital

The Flemish Institute Healthy Living hopes that there will be a legal smoking ban throughout the hospital in the future. In that case, smoking would not be allowed anywhere on the premises and hospitals will also not have separate spaces for smoking.

‘Smoking leads to involuntary second-hand smoke to joint and to cigarette butt debris. We regular get complaints regarding both.’

Katrijn Vandamme, colleague at the tobacco prevention programme with Healthy Living.

Belgians are ready for this to happen: 81% want smoke-free hospitals That is what the statistics from the Foundation Against Cancer tell us. Carenet Icuro says this: ‘In the future, it will be absolutely normal to not smoke any longer, either in or around the hospital. What’s more, smoking is even less appropriate here because the hospital is a health care institution.’

Would you like to stop smoking?