Conflicting Messages

Via Taking Liberties, this report on Royal United Bath Hospital smoking ban:

Smoking will be fully banned at the Royal United Hospital in Bath by the end of the year.

It is currently advertised as a smoke-free site but there are designated shelters for lighting up that will be removed to end the ‘conflicting messages’.

Vaping will be allowed but anyone wanting to smoke will have to leave the site – a move expected to upset neighbouring residents.

Director of people Claire Ridley told the hospital trust board: “There is some concern we are giving conflicting messages.

“We are smoke free but have smoking shelters.

“By the end of this year we have to be smoke free.

“We have some work to do to build support for our staff around smoking cessation.

“Probably the most challenging aspect is enforcement.

“What expectation do we have on our staff? What sanctions could there be for repeat offenders? Enforcement is the key to this.”

Why do they have to be smoke free by the end of the year? Instructions from the DoH?

What’s so bad about sending “conflicting messages”? Is it the job of hospitals to send messages? What other messages is the hospital sending? And to whom?

And what’s a “director of people”? Don’t directors always direct people? Is “director of people” another word for “busybody”?

And if they are going to have to work to build support among their staff, it sounds like their staff don’t much like it.

It doesn’t sound like the chief executive does either:

James Scott, the trust’s chief executive, said: “This is a significant challenge for us and every hospital I’ve ever been in, including abroad.

“Don’t think this is an NHS problem.

“We will be forcing smokers off-site – that’s our patients and staff.

“The consequence is we will get more and more complaints from our neighbours.

“That’s what’s happened every time we’ve done this in the past.

“Legally, provided staff are outside our curtilage, they can smoke.

“There’s nothing we can do about that, other than be aware about the increased risk of complaints.

“Engaging with our neighbours will be helpful.”

He said some doctors may object to the ban because of the calming effect that smoking can have in stressful situations.

Public Health England recognises vaping as an effective tool for quitting smoking but Mr Scott said there is some emerging evidence that it “isn’t as harmless as it’s currently thought to be”.

He’s pointing out all the downsides: It’s a universal problem. It forces patients and staff off-site. It annoys the neighbours. Even some doctors may object. Vaping isn’t harmless either. That’s five downsides, and not a single upside.

If it’s legal to smoke outside the curtilage, does that mean it’s illegal to smoke inside it. What law is being invoked?

Doesn’t banning smoking while permitting vaping also send a “conflicting message”?

Doesn’t forcing smokers off-site send a “conflicting message” to the neighbours: “We’re not having anyone smoke in our grounds, so we’re off-loading them onto yours”? One rule for us, another for you.

Nigel Stevens, a non-executive director of the trust, asked if there had been any research into how smoking bans affect staff retention – which is an issue for the RUH.

Doesn’t sound like he’s much of a fan either.


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16 Responses to Conflicting Messages

  1. David Kerr says:

    I think the hospital people responsible for this have forgotten that it is not illegal to smoke outside and within the hospital grounds, therefore it is they who are stating falsehoods

  2. Rose says:

    It probably seemed like a super new trendy idea 11 years ago, all sparkly and progressive, now people see the miserable reality, the NHS was never intended to be about them and us.
    Voices were raised before the ban, doctors wrote letters to newspapers warning that it was a very bad idea, but very few and they were all ignored.

    ASH and it’s co conspirators had done an excellent job

    Swarm effect

    “We created a coalition around our key messages. A smoke-free steering group was set up involving major health and medical organisations in alliance with the Trades Union Congress, individual politicians, local government officers and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. They ran their own effective campaigns, but remained committed to an agreed strategy originally drafted by Ash”

    Even to former enthusiasts it must all be looking a bit sad now.

  3. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    Disgraceful inhumane moralistic policy with not even the pretext of repeating bogus fanciful lies about the claimed “toxic” effects of dilute tobacco (only, not diesel, or wood, or even incense) smoke in the open air. So saintly centres of healing such as Royal United Bath hospital would rather force people offsite in wheelchairs and dressing gowns, carting saline drip trolleys? Monstrous. Take many photos and “out” the bully cultist control freaks…sue them when a smoking patient is hit by a vehicle, or passing thug, or frozen in winter – such bans clearly violate the hospital duty of care.🚬🚬🚬

    • Rose says:

      So saintly centres of healing such as Royal United Bath hospital would rather force people offsite in wheelchairs and dressing gowns, carting saline drip trolleys? Monstrous. Take many photos and “out” the bully cultist control freaks
      That’s a very good idea, I wonder if there’s a local photographer willing to send a few pictures to the local and national papers, with the patient’s permission.

      “Those against the ban said shelters were a good way to contain smokers;staff, visitors and patients may be under a lot of stress and need to smoke; and that people had free choice over whether they smoke.
      Those who supported the ban said the RUH had a responsibility to promote healthy choices.

      The trust backed the ban.”

      Perhaps what ban supporters consider as “promoting healthy choices” really looks like deserves a wider audience.

      • Furtive Ferret says:

        “Perhaps what ban supporters consider as “promoting healthy choices” really looks like deserves a wider audience.”

        And I would say, “Good: promote the healthy choices” and leave it at that. But why does promotion of “healthy choices” alway entail removal of choice? That is not choosing!

  4. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Us locals will as usual completely ignore their silly ban. As will their own staff !

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    Resistance against the imposition of outdoor smoking bans (at hospitals), parks, beaches, public squares, sidewalks, and outdoors eating areas is imperative.

    There is essentially no risk from second hand smoke outdoors (and actually none indoors either). These bans are explicit persecution of smokers based on hate and a desire to control and must be challenged and stopped.

    • Rose says:

      It’s always been about public humiliation, that was clear from the start.

      But if you are trying to convince the public that something is a deadly hazard, you have to make people act like it, hence all the standing outside and shelters 50% open to the elements.

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    As an example of the persecution of smokers resulting fro forced ‘denormalisation’ see this vile, hate speech masquerading as a news article/commentary from New Jersey (it appears at but originated at the Newark Star-Ledger): “Smoking ban down the shore”
    It’s amazing that a legitimate news outlet would entertain and publish this outright hate and zealotry. Resistance is imperative. Tobacco control must be destroyed!

    • waltc says: 200 word max. Since you’re not in or near NJ, their instructions say you can submit in the name of an organization. Make up the name of one and sic em

      • waltc says:

        FWIW, with an NYC address this was my letter to the ed: ” Considering that the Star Ledger has just called smokers “unredeemable…gross..dirty..smelly…” I assume you don’t expect us to continue buying your paper let alone spending our money visiting your shores. Done and done.”

  7. waltc says:

    Doesnt it “send a conflicting message” when a place whose main job is the TLC of the seriously ill cruelly and dangerously expels them to the perimeter? And, yes, absolutely, photos must be taken and patients interviewed but this might entail organizing citizens to do it with their phones and aside from just posting the photos online, bombard the local papers and tv stations with the photos and quotes. . Time’s up for just being an armchair strategist.

  8. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    This persecution is based in the untenable dogmatic belief that choosing to smoke is a “medical condition”. Wrong, it is an individual choice. Collectivist public health zealots are blind to the harm their zero tolerance approach produces. Take photos of the oppressed fenced in the smoking ghettos with long range lenses, then blot out faces using digital editing… 📸

  9. Lepercolonist says:

    A study released in 2016 found medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer.

    That is a ‘conflicting message’. Oh well…

  10. Pingback: Who? | Frank Davis

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