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Views And Reviews

How do we stop people smoking at the front doors of our hospitals?

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 10 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3334
  1. Scott McGlynn, medical student,
  2. Paul McClymont, medical student,
  3. Chris Isles, consultant physician
  1. Medical Unit, Dumfries Royal Infirmary, Dumfries, UK
  1. chris.isles{at}

Over a million smokers are treated in UK hospitals each year and a small proportion of them feel compelled to smoke when they are admitted or visit. The image of smokers—in wheelchairs, with dripstands and catheter bags—congregating in front of our hospitals is all too familiar for those of us who walk past them as we come to work.

We recognise that smoking in the open air isn’t a threat to anyone else’s health, but it nevertheless gives the wrong impression of hospitals as promoters of a healthy lifestyle. When our new hospital in Dumfries opened last year we were worried that smokers would soon congregate around the front entrance.

A British Thoracic Society (BTS) audit in 2016 of 14 750 patients across 146 hospitals in the …

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