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HOSPITAL trusts are being called upon to make their sites tobacco-free as yesterday marked No Smoking Day.

Public Health England wants trusts to follow in the footsteps of Solent NHS Trust which last year banned smoking from all their sites.

In 2014 trusts across the south east were encouraged to sign up to the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control, which involves making a public commitment to work towards further reducing smoking prevalence.

Now they are asking them to step up following the national awareness day.

According to research by the British Thoracic Society, only one in 16 hospitals across England are completely tobacco-free and only a quarter of patients who were identified as smokers were asked if they would like to quit while in hospital.

Angela Baker, deputy director for health and wellbeing at Public Health England south east, said:

‘Reducing smoking rates is a vital element of our vision for a healthier society.

‘By working closely with trusts and supporting them in their commitment to ban use of tobacco, we will be better able to prevent the rise of smoking related diseases.

‘Signing the declaration is only the start of the journey. Staff, patients and visitors who smoke will need to be given the tools and support they need to stop.’

Smoking is responsible for five per cent of all hospital admissions in those aged over 35.