DUDLEY'S hospitals will be going smoke free from June 3, bosses have announced.

Patients, visitors and staff will not be able to smoke or vape anywhere, inside or outside, at Dudley's Russells Halls Hospital and the Guest and Corbett outpatient centres - the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust has announced.

Diane Wake, chief executive of the Dudley Group which runs all three hospitals, said at the request of Public Health England the trust will be removing all of its smoking shelters and asking visitors, patients and staff to refrain from smoking on the premises.

She said: “As a healthcare trust we clearly wish to promote a healthy environment.

"Since 2007 smoking has not been allowed in hospital buildings and everyone understands and respects that. Now we need to extend that to our wider estates, including our car parks.

“Smoking remains the leading cause of premature death in the UK.

“We will be supporting our staff who wish to use this opportunity to quit smoking by providing free support to them ready for June 3.”

Health chiefs say smoking accounts for half of the health gap between the poorest and most affluent people and the move to make the hospitals a no smoking zone will mark an important milestone in reducing the impact of tobacco dependency with the community.

They say trusts which have gone smoke-free have reported a positive response from patients, visitors and staff and a reduction in staff sickness - and that ultimately it will lead to fewer admissions, shorter patient stays and help to create a population that ages more healthily.

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