Health and Social Care (HSC) sites across Northern Ireland go smoke free from today.
The move coincides with No Smoking Day, and means that smoking will not be allowed by staff, patients, contractors or visitors on any HSC premises.
Mary Black, from the Public Health Agency (PHA), said: “One in every two people who smoke will die from their habit, and stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health.
“The health service exists to improve people’s health and wellbeing, so it makes perfect sense that the sites on which healthcare is delivered are smoke free.
“The aim of going smoke free is to provide a healthier environment for everyone who uses health and social care premises, whether they are giving care or receiving it.
Ms Black explained that the introduction of smoke free is being complemented by an extensive network of support for people who want to stop smoking.
“For many people, stopping smoking isn’t easy, but help is at hand,” she said.
For more information, visit the PHA’s Want 2 Stop website at www.want2stop.info.