Smokefree Home Visits

Protecting our staff from second-hand smoke

Passive smoking and home visits

Many NHS Lothian staff visit patients in their homes to provide healthcare and advice. During these visits, your home becomes their workplace. We have a duty to protect our staff from the risks of ill-health due to passive smoking. To do this, we need your help.

NHS Lothian’s smokefree policy

Like the ban on smoking in public places, our smokefree policy aims to protect people from the harm caused by passive smoking - that is, breathing in second-hand smoke. This includes protecting our staff as they carry out their duties in your home.

What is second-hand smoke?

Second-hand smoke comes from the burning tip of a cigarette and the smoke breathed back out. Breathing second-hand smoke has immediate adverse health effects including:

  • reduced lung function
  • aggravated breathing problems, including triggering asthma attacks
  • reduced blood flow to the heart
  • irritated eyes, headaches, coughs, sore throats, dizziness and nausea.

Second-hand smoke contains 4,000 toxic chemicals, which means people who breathe it in are at risk of the same diseases as people who smoke, including cancer and heart disease.

How can I help?

When one of our staff comes to see you in your home, we would kindly ask that you and anyone living with you or visiting you:

  • does not smoke while we visit
  • ventilates the room as best you can before a visit by opening a window or door.

What if I don’t agree?

Our staff must report to their manager when they are being exposed to second-hand smoke during their visit to your home. Their manager has a duty to protect their health and wellbeing, and may decide they should not continue to see you at your home. In this case, you may have to attend your local GP surgery or another venue for treatment.

Thank you for helping to protect the health of NHS Lothian staff, who care about your health.

If you would like help to stop smoking, free advice and support is available from:

  • West Lothian Stop Smoking Service: 01506 651829
  • South Edinburgh Stop Smoking Service: 0131 672 9532
  • North Edinburgh Stop Smoking Service: 0131 536 6247
  • East Lothian and Midlothian Stop Smoking Service: 0131 537 9914

Free advice is also available from Smokeline: 0800 84 84 84.