Smokers could be given patches while in hospital

SMOKERS may be provided with nicotine patches or gum while in hospital if a parliamentary committee's proposals are passed this week.

The parliamentary health committee has recommended smoking be banned in all Queensland hospitals despite concerns from the Private Hospital Association of Queensland.

To overcome concerns the committee is recommending "appropriate nicotine replacement therapy products are made available to patients during their stay in a health facility".

The PHAQ said while it supported reducing smoking it was not practical to ban smoking in hospitals.

The association said it believed designated smoking areas were more practical.

PHAQ executive director Lucy Fisher submitted to the committee that almost all private hospitals were in residential areas and a ban on smoking in hospital grounds would result in smokers moving onto adjacent properties to light up.

"Given the physical location of so many private hospitals, we are concerned that extending that prohibition to 5m beyond a hospital boundary will simply relocate that problem to neighbouring private property or local bushland," she said.

Despite this concern the committee said the health benefits outweighed the concerns banning smoking would have.

"The committee acknowledges the concerns raised about potential increased legal and health and safety risks for staff at health facilities," their recommendations read.

"The committee considers, however, that any practical issues raised by the ban are not insurmountable, and that those issues are outweighed by the public health benefits from banning smoking in health facilities."

The Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 is expected to go before parliament this week.

- APN NEWSDESK



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