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A decade of keeping our health service smoke-free

Peninsula Health has been encouraging smokers to butt-out since 2010. [Photo: Supplied]

A smoke-free public address system is just one of the many tools Peninsula Health’s developed to deter people from lighting up.

It’s been ten years since the health service adopted its smoke-free policy, leading to the removal of smoking shelters and the banning of smoking at any site.

On September 1 2010, Frankston and Rosebud hospitals, the Golf Links Road Rehabilitation Centre and a number of community health centres all became smoke-free.

Any building or car belonging to Peninsula Health is also subject to the same rule.

Health Promotion Practitioner, Rebecca Long, is a member of the Peninsula Health Smoke-Free Working Group and says several initiatives have been developed over that time to protect the health of service users, staff and visitors.

“While smoking rates are declining across many parts of Victoria, in some of our local areas, daily smoking rates are more than three times that of the state average,” she says.

“Since we became smoke-free, we’ve taken several steps to encourage compliance –  promoting the reasons to quit, creating a greater presence of signage along with the introduction of our smoke-free public address system, which provides audible warnings.”

Ms Long thanked everyone for their cooperation and assistance over the past ten years.

“We’ve asked for our community’s support, because we care about their health,” she says.

“We’re incredibly grateful for everyone’s understanding to not smoke here so we can reduce the harmful effects of smoking and passive smoking”

With smoking still the single most preventable cause of disease and death, Ms Long says the habit continues to bear a significant burden on the health system.

“Smoking is dangerous to both the smoker and those around them,” she says.

“That’s why we’re aiming to improve our promotion of smoking cessation pathways as often as we can, be it for staff, volunteers or patients – it’s an important feature of our smoke-free commitment.”

“We’re so pleased our efforts have led to around half of our staff quitting, many of whom were smokers before we went smoke-free ten years ago.”

Peninsula Health will continue to explore more ways to reduce smoking rates.

“One of the goals of Peninsula Health’s current Strategic Plan is to achieve GOLD status against the Global standards,” says Rebecca.

“In order to achieve this, we need a whole of organisation systematic approach to identifying, diagnosing and documenting tobacco addiction and dependence in our patients, consumers and clients.”

“We’re also continuing to make Nicotine Replacement Therapies available to staff and volunteers who want to quit smoking and inpatients can also access Nicotine Replacement Therapy.”

If you’re ready to kick the habit, help is available. Call Quitline today on 13 7848.

For more information about how you can get access to Nicotine Replacement Therapy, contact Peninsula Health ACCESS on 1300 665 781.