NHS board to allow e-cigarettes on hospital grounds after rethink
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde bring in policy change to allow people to vape in designated areas
E-cigarettes will be allowed on hospital grounds after a Scottish NHS board changed its policy on the issue.
People will now be allowed to use the electronic devices, used as a cigarette substitute, in designated areas at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) hospitals.
The decision was taken following the emergence of new evidence from a range of sources which show e-cigarettes to be an effective tool in tackling tobacco smoking rates.
The move is also consistent with guidance recently published by Health Scotland which recommends that NHS smoking cessation services should support those choosing to quit smoking by using e-cigarettes.
The board also considered that allowing the "controlled use of e-cigarettes on healthcare grounds will further support the drive to make all NHSGGC sites completely tobacco free" in line with the national policy.
The health board says it will now do to things to implement the policy change:
- Identify specific areas within our grounds where e-cigarettes will be permitted
- Develop a communications plan for staff, patients and visitors to make clear that tobacco and e-cigarettes are treated differently and communicate where people can use e-cigarettes on our grounds
Dr Emilia Crighton, NHS GGC director of public health, said: "I welcome the boards decision to approve the use of e-cigarettes in specific areas within our grounds.
"It is clear from research carried out by Public Health England, ourselves and others that e-cigarettes do have their place in the fight against tobacco and are being used effectively to help people stop smoking altogether.
"In NHSGGC we have carried out our own research which has revealed that some 32 per cent of smokers in our health board area intend to use e-cigarettes in their next quit attempt and that 18% of recent ex-smokers used them to help give up tobacco in the past 12 months.
"It is therefore very important that we organise our services to ensure that that we can safely and effectively manage the use e-cigarettes as part of suite of services to help people give up tobacco."
The health board says its community teams have been providing support to those using e-cigarettes as part of their efforts to give up tobacco.
It is also considered that the use e-cigarettes will be particularly helpful in the context of supporting mental health sites to become completely tobacco free.
Dr Crighton added: "We know that the smoking rate is particularly high among people with mental health problems and we are of the view that the use of e-cigarettes on our sites will allow us to be able to provide particular support to this group of patients by re-designating traditional smoking areas for the use of e-cigarettes."