Hospital vapors

Hospital vapors

March 12, 2019

The UK pro-smoking group Forest (Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking) has called for the lifting of restrictions on vaping within hospital grounds.

Fifty-five percent of National Health Service (NHS) trusts did not allow electronic cigarettes to be used outdoors last year, according to a report by Forest, Prejudice and Prohibition: Results of a study of smoking and vaping policies in NHS hospital trusts in England.

This was despite Public Health England (PHE) advice that it should be made easier for people to vape on site.

Forest is calling also for greater freedom for patients, visitors and staff who want to smoke cigarettes at hospitals.

Freedom of Information requests were made to 200 NHS trusts in England by Forest, 170 of which provided a response.

‘Around 45 percent said they allowed e-cigarettes to be used outside in 2018 and 11 percent of trusts, mainly specialising in mental health, permitted vaping indoors,’ the research was said to have found.

‘However 14 percent said they were planning to amend their policies in 2019 to allow vaping outside buildings, in shelters or in wards.’

Forest said vaping should be permitted in all outdoor areas at hospitals and inside buildings and on wards if management considered it appropriate.

Seventy-six percent of NHS trusts did not allow cigarettes to be smoked anywhere on hospital grounds while 22 percent provided smoking shelters, the research also found.

Meanwhile, thirty two percent of trusts said they had installed a button which triggers a recorded message when pressed by a member of the public or staff, to help deter smokers.

Forest described the devices as ‘shame-a-smoker buttons’.

“We welcome the fact that some trusts are reviewing their policies on the use of e-cigarettes, but adopting a more sensible approach to vaping shouldn’t come at the price of a complete ban on smoking,” Simon Clark, director of Forest, was quoted as saying.

“Banning smoking on hospital grounds demonstrates a staggering lack of compassion for smokers who may be stressed, upset and in need of a comforting cigarette.

“A reasonable policy would lift restrictions on vaping, but give those who prefer to smoke the option of sheltered smoking areas.”

The NHS trust responses were collected between July and December 2018.

Category: Breaking News

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