Small screen tactics to help tackle smoke issue

Health promoter Gayle Rawstorn gives Wairau medical records administrator Karla Matthews some direction before filming. Photo: Supplied.

A health promoter is turning to the small screen to help staff tackle the problem of people smoking on hospital grounds.

Smokefree advocate Gayle Rawstorn has turned her talents to creating a video resource for staff at Wairau Hospital.

Launched on World Smokefree Day last Monday, the four-minute film is aimed at helping staff feel more comfortable about asking smokers and vapers to light up elsewhere.

Letting people know about the hospital’s smokefree policy is part of her job, Gayle says.

"We want to protect patients, visitors and ourselves from second-hand smoke.

“It's not our job to enforce our smokefree policy, only inform people about it, and having a simple, kind and quick conversation can be all that's needed to remind people that NMH grounds are smoke and vape-free.

“This is about supporting staff how to have these non-confrontational conversations.

“The other thing we say is that if someone appears distressed, it’s okay not to approach.”

The video, which features youth health promoter Reuben Molnar and Wairau medical records administrator Karla Matthews was made on Gayle’s iPhone.

The video gives constructive tips on how staff might approach someone who might need reminding about the smokefree policy.

It’s about giving people the confidence to speak to patients and visitors who smoke or vape on school grounds, Gayle says.

But its also about offering support.

“We want the best outcome for everyone. Eighty per cent of smokers wish they had never started in the first place and the majority want to quit.

“When we see someone smoking, we realise it’s an addiction and when you think about it like that you are more empathetic.

“They may be there as a patient or visitor and have so many things going on within their lives and it could be a stressful time.”

Gayle says she enjoyed making the video so much she has plans to make more.

“I really want to make more [videos] and would like to create something for local workplaces on how they can support their staff to begin their smokefree journeys too.

“So often we’re bogged down with reading this kind of information and learning through film can be more user friendly.

“We’re always looking at better ways to reach staff.”

For more information about the Nelson Marlborough Stop Smoking Service and how to access free, face-to-face support, call 0800 NO SMOKE (0800 667 665) or visit