WDHB Smokefree Environment
Tobacco smoking is the single largest cause of preventable illness and death in New Zealand, contributing to around 5000 deaths each year. Tobacco use is a related factor for one in four cancer deaths in this country. Tobacco is the only product on the open market that if used as directed will kill 50 percent of its users.

The effects of tobacco smoking can be a long journey commencing with:
  • Tobacco smoke exposure in infancy and childhood contributing to poor birth outcomes (miscarriage, inter-uterine growth retardation, prematurity, cot death), childhood respiratory illnesses (bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma), skin allergies (eczema) and glue ear/ middle ear infections (requiring grommets).
  • Adolescent/young adult uptake of regular smoking leading to nicotine addiction. If a person is smoking at 15 years old then on average they will have a 35-year addiction to nicotine. Smoking as young adults contributes to the acceleration of the natural degenerative or aging changes in the body – particularly respiratory, cardio-vascular, skin, teeth and gums. The symptoms are minor during this age group (an exacerbation of asthma, breathless during high physical activity, husky voice, prone to colds)
  • Adult smoking. Continuous smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke harms the delicate cells of the body. Tobacco-related illnesses start to be seen by smokers in their late 30s and if they keep smoking will continue, to varying degrees, throughout their lives. Cardio-vascular events (heart attack/stroke) respiratory disease (emphysema, pneumonia, bronchitis) and cell changes causing cancers are tobacco-related illnesses. Smoking has a negative effect on many chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, eye disease, obesity and depression.
In areas where New Zealanders live with poor housing, unemployment, and social deprivation, smoking adds to the suffering of the children and their whanau. The cost is extremely high, especially to our community and our health system where we use much of our valuable resources. The effects of tobacco are preventable.  

For this reason the WDHB is committed to promoting healthy lifestyle choices for employees, patients, visitors, contractors and volunteers, by:
  1. providing a supportive smokefree environment for all, helping to create this site as a place of recovery and wellbeing.
  2. showing leadership in adopting a population health perspective to address a major cause of the chronic disease burden and health inequities experienced in this DHB
  3. creating a supportive environment for anyone who wishes to quit. We invite you to please ask the staff for help.
Please respect our policy of no smoking while on site. This includes all grounds, buildings and cars parked at WDHB sites. Those wishing to smoke will need to make their way offsite.

If you are attending Whanganui Hospital as a patient/client/service user you will be asked about your smoking status by our staff.

All smokers will be:
  1. offered assistance to remain smokefree while you are in our care
  2. supported by staff working with you to keep cravings at a tolerant level
  3. offered help to quit smoking when discharged. If you wish to quit a prescription for cessation medication and a referral to a quit smoking provider in the community will be made.
This is in line with the Ministry of Health Tobacco target of 'Better Help for Smokers to Quit' to assist you in making positive health choices.
Please ask staff if you wish to have help to remain smokefree while you are onsite.

Click here to report a breach of the WDHB Smokefree Policy and/or Smokefree Environments Act