Right from the start I am going to declare an interest, I smoked 20 a day since I was 15 but stopped 20 years ago.What is it about smoking that makes people illiterate? Our hospital, like every other one is completely none smoking and in fact does not allow smoking in the grounds. So, why is that people still smoke at the main entrance? They will smoke underneath a no smoking sign, they will even blow smoke onto the no smoking sign BUT they will not READ the no smoking sign. There is always any amount of patients and visitors who congregate there puffing away and forcing everyone to walk through their stink. Patients in pyjamas in the middle of winter, patients with drips, pumps and catheters all out chasing their fix as "they have a right" to smoke. I have even heard of patients in pain, being given morphine for the pain and then going out for a cigarette - this is a disaster waiting to happen but patients now talk about their "human rights" and the wards cannot stop them. What about my right to walk through a smoke free atmosphere? No, I'm just a grumpy old ex smoker who is interfering with their pleasures. The hospital has erected a shelter which is fenced off for those patients who have to have a fag, it is sign posted and out of the way, and more importantly it is not at the main entrance. But is it used? Not a chance! Now patients who smoke and are in for a while I can understand needing a smoke, but there is no reason on this earth for visitors to smoke - what do they do on air flights? If any member of staff dares to question these people and point out the no smoking signs, they are met with a torrent of abuse and occasionally violence - a doctor had his nose broken not that long ago because he had the temerity to say something. It can get worse, what about patients who take ill at the door? Who deals with that? The A&E department I work in has made it clear that any inpatient who collapses or faints at the front door has nothing to do with us. They are there against the hospitals advice therefore it is unfortunately their wards problem and the ward staff have to deal with it. We are not going to get into a situation I saw on television where an A&E was being filmed and the staff were called to the front door because a smoker from a ward had collapsed and a nurse and doctor had to leave what they were doing and rush to the aid of a smoker.Is there any solution, probably not, but at least we have managed to stop people smoking inside buildings. Although there is still the odd idiot who will light up in a toilet - and then deny it when challenged. We need to make smoking socially unacceptable the way drink driving is now. We need to try to educate people about the dangers, but they don't listen to TV adverts or education they receive. Despite the price of cigarettes and despite the fact that you cannot buy cigarettes in Scotland until you are 18, as I type this, I can see school children walking up the road smoking.