To celebrate No Tobacco Day recently and to mark going smokefree, NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has signed the NHS Smokefree Pledge today.

Within the next month, NHSBSA will begin to go smoke-free, meaning that smoking will not be permitted on its main sites in Newcastle and Lancashire. As part of this, smoking cessation clinics will be offered to staff during working hours.

Signing the pledge shows the organisation’s support for a smoke-free NHS and its commitment to helping smokers to quit, by creating a smoke-free environment that helps them to do so.

Nationally, NHS England has committed hospitals and mental health services to become truly smoke-free by 2019.

The pledge was signed by the chief executive of NHSBSA, Alistair McDonald. He said: “I’m delighted to sign the NHS Smokefree Pledge. Smoking is the leading cause of premature death and disease and kills 79,000 people in England every year. We are determined to help as many smokers to quit as possible, improving their health and reducing the smoking burden placed on the NHS.”

The pledge has been developed by the Smokefree Action Coalition and is endorsed by Steve Brine MP, the former public health minister, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, and other health leaders.

The NHS has a key role to play in reducing the number of people who smoke, yet smoking places a major burden on the NHS. The cost of smoking to the NHS in England is £2.5billion every year.

“While smoking rates are at an all-time low, it is still our country’s biggest preventable killer—so we are absolutely committed to helping people quit for life. The NHS Smokefree Pledge supports the bold ambitions set out in our new Tobacco Control Plan. It is fantastic to see the NHS making such a powerful statement to help us push for a smokefree generation” said Steve Brine at the time of the Pledge’s launch.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, added: “The NHS admits a patient every minute because of a smoking related disease and 1 in 4 beds are occupied by a smoker.”