AN NHS trust has banned smoking at all of its site.

As of Wednesday, Southern Health patients, visitors and staff are no longer be able to smoke on any of the NHS trust’s hospital sites.

The trust runs hospitals or clinics at locations across Hampshire, including at Andover War Memorial Hospital.

Although smoking has previously been prohibited on Southern Health’s hospital sites, discretion has been exercised in the past, allowing limited smoking in some designated outdoor areas.

However, the trust will enforce a 100 per cent ban on smoking on its sites, offering people support to quit smoking too.

The move follows recommendations from Public Health England and The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which state that all NHS sites should be smoke-free by 2019/20.

This is because, despite smoking rates being at their lowest level since records began, smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable death and illness in the UK.

Southern Health’s chief medical officer Dr Karl Marlowe said: “It’s taken lot of preparation with staff and our local partners to get us to the point of becoming a fully smoke-free trust – and we thank everyone involved in getting us to this stage.

"Reducing smoking rates is a vital element of building a healthier society and NHS staff should not ‘facilitate harm’.

"Many people are in hospital because of smoking-related illness, and if they continue to smoke it’s likely they’ll take longer to recover.”

“Importantly, as part of our smoke-free commitment, patients and staff will be given the tools and support they need to help them stop smoking.

"People who are admitted to our hospitals will have the option to temporarily stop smoking during their stay, or to make a quit attempt with support from a trained member of staff. For both options, we will provide nicotine replacement products to help with the cravings for a cigarette, so no-one is forced to experience the effects of nicotine withdrawal.”