Smoking ban to begin at maternity hospitals
Smoking is to be banned from the grounds of Dublin's three main maternity hospitals from tomorrow, meaning smokers will have to go off-site for a cigarette.
The ban, which will apply to pregnant women, new mothers, visitors and staff, is being enforced at the Rotunda Hospital, Coombe Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street in Dublin city.
Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, master of the Rotunda Hospital, yesterday helped to demolish the smoking hut on the hospital grounds and said women who wanted to smoke would have to go on to the street.
Although the hospital will offer women support and provide guidance on how to give up, he said it could not afford to stock nicotine replacement patches for those who need relief for cravings.
"We will be doing our best to support people but we don't have the money in our budget for that," he said.
"People will be supported by staff at their outpatient visits and will be shown where they can go for help," he added.
Dr Coulter-Smith, who has repeatedly highlighted the funding, staff and infrastructure pressures on the hospital, said "money has not followed the patient" despite the high birth numbers.
Smoking is the biggest cause of ill-health and death in Ireland.
It can seriously affect both a woman's own health and her baby's development.