Smoking shame at Children’s Hospital

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From: Helen Shipley

Nether Edge

I was recently unfortunate enough to have to visit Sheffield Children’s Hospital A&E department with my three-year- old after he suffered a minor head injury. It was a very busy late Friday afternoon, but my son was treated brilliantly by the amazing staff here. We are so lucky in this city to have this fabulous hospital for our children at those times when we need it most.

Why is it then, that some people treat the outside of this place like a giant outdoor ashtray? The amazing work done by the team at this hospital is let down by the entrance to A&E which always has a lot of people smoking right outside - and it’s not only this hospital, other entrances to our hospitals are worse!

Seriously ill children are being brought in by ambulance through clouds of thick smoke from the selfish people who are standing right outside the entrance smoking. Every bin, flower bed and path was overflowing with discarded cigarette ends when I visited - and the whole place stinks of it. My son and I couldn’t find anywhere to stand outside and wait for our taxi home without breathing in clouds of other people smoke, or wading through piles of cigarette ends, so we had to go back inside.

I know about the reasons why people choose to smoke, and particularly at times of stress, especially if their child is ill (although I ask myself why are they not in there with them?), but come on, think about the effect you are having on other people around you for a change!

The hospital looks like it is fighting a losing battle though and has put signs everywhere asking people not to smoke outside as ‘Children copy what adults do’ yet these selfish people continue to ignore them and also continue to deposit their smoking litter all over the entrance, as well as polluting the lungs of poorly children and their carers coming through it who have no other choice.

The hospital has more important work to do than keep moving people away, or asking them to dispose of their stinking smoking litter properly, or to clean it up after them.

So please - stop abusing this great hospital and take your dying habit elsewhere.