HEALTH CENTRES and hospitals in the Algarve will soon become smoke-free zones and those promising to set the example are the medical staff themselves. Despite the fact that there is a law in place prohibiting smoking at these units, the rule has not been complied with by either patients or staff.
The Administração Regional de Saúde (ARS), the regional health authority, will impose the smoking ban at all the Algarve’s health facilities and has already issued an internal memo which demands strict adherence to the measure, stating that those in charge are obliged to keep a close eye on those who smoke.
The smoking ban at health facilities is just one of the measures to be taken in the war against tobacco, announced the ARS on No Smoking Day (November 17). An increase in consultations to help patients quit smoking and the launch of awareness campaigns, in partnership with other entities, are further actions planned.
“Smoking must only be permitted to an open area outside the buildings,” states the ARS, emphasising that no smoking will be allowed in waiting rooms.
The measures are designed to deter people from smoking. At stake is the health of patients and a good example must be set by the medical staff.
Five million people die each year due to the consumption of tobacco, but this number could soon reach 10 million if emergency measures are not taken to reduce the number of smokers.