Public Health England have recommended that hospitals should stock e-cigarettes for sale to their patients, and offer a private room for them to vape in to create safer, smoke free environments.
This advice has been issued in line with an evidence update on the safety of tobacco alternatives which Public Health England says should be used more widely as quitting aids. In 2015 experts concluded that vaping only poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking and, in their continued ?Smoke Free? efforts, health officials look towards a future where e-cigarettes are prescribed to patients by doctors as a means to quit smoking.
Following the review, PHE has made a number of recommendations about e-cigarettes.
Professor John Newton, director for health improvement at PHE, said: “Our new review reinforces the finding that vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking, at least 95% less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders.
“Yet over half of smokers either falsely believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or just don’t know.
“It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about their safety.”
Neil McCallum, MD of e-cigarette firm JAC Vapour and the only Scottish board member of the Independent British Vape Trade Association said: “This announcement from Public Health England is a major step forward in the fight against smoking. It is surprising that 40% of the 7 million current UK smokers have never tried an e-cigarette, when the evidence clearly shows they are much safer.
“Public Health England is calling on NHS Trusts to become truly smoke free by ensuring that e-cigarettes, alongside nicotine replacement therapies are available for sale in hospital shops; vaping policies to support smokers to quit and stay smoke free; smoking shelters be removed; and frontline staff take every opportunity to encourage and support patients to quit.
“We would encourage the Scottish Government to explore similar measures to encourage smokers to stop and to make a commitment to a smoke free Scotland.”
In September, NHS Health Scotland said e-cigarettes are “definitely” less harmful than smoking.
In 2016, Scotland’s largest health board ruled that e-cigarettes could be used within the grounds of its hospitals. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde decided to allow restricted use of the devices.
Tobacco smoking was banned across all health grounds in Scotland in April 2015, but health boards were given discretion over the use of vaping devices outside buildings.
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