Two NHS Hospitals in the Midlands have taken a bold step by opening two vape shops to eradicate smoking. The shops have already started selling vape pens and e-cigarettes to the patients and visitors. Alongside this controversial move, the Trust has also introduced the fine of 50 GBP for those who caught smoking in the hospital premises.
It comes out as one of the measures from the government’s plan to eliminate smoking from England by 2030.
This step will also compel tobacco manufacturers to fund programmes like these to help people quit smoking. If the move gets successful, the NHS would not be the only organization to fund such programmes.
West Bromwich’s Sandwell General Hospital & Birmingham’s City Hospital, Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals NHS trust, have opened up these shops selling the products like Jubbly Bubbly and Wizard’s Leaf.
The move aims to make the entire site “Smoke-Free” by replacing the smoking shelters with the vaping areas. The security guards and CCTV cameras at the site will help to monitor people in the hospital premises.
Using e-cigarettes outside are allowed as long as it takes place away from the doorways.
“The Trust’s board and our clinical leaders are united in the view that smoking kills. Given that simple truth, we can no longer support smoking on our sites, even in shelters or cars. Every alternative is available, and we ask visitors and patients to work with us to enforce these changes. Giving up smoking saves you money and saves your health. No more passive smoking on our sites is a public health necessity.”
– Dr. David Carruthers, Trust’s medical director
The board members and clinical leaders supported this move as it will decrease passive smoking on the sites, which was a public health necessity.
In the past two years, the use of e-cigarettes has risen by 70%, while the rate of smoking continues to fall with time. According to the latest figures, only 15% of British adults are still smokers. Most of the quitters have switched to vaping.
Public Health England fully supports this move and states that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking. It also urged hospitals to start selling vape pens & e-cigarettes inside the hospitals last year and insisted that patients should be able to vape inside hospitals on their beds if they have private rooms.
“We’re incredibly happy to announce the opening of our two shops at Sandwell and City Hospital, supporting the Trust’s smoke-free status. We are keen to offer to vape as an alternative to smoking, as a means to help people cut down or quit.”
– Joe Lucas, Head of Retail for Ecigwizard
The director of UK Vaping Industry, John Dunne said as the government is expected to draw up an effective plan to form “Smoke-free British” by 2030, more people and organizations should take a step forward to support the vaping just like Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust did.
The policies that prohibit vaping by comparing it to smoking will lead more people towards tobacco harm and could come in the way of eradicating smoking.
Despite the role of vaping in eradicating smoking from the world, the practice still faces a lot of criticism. San Francisco banned the sale of e-cigarettes entirely by saying that it is creating a nicotine epidemic among teenagers. Many critics addressed vaping as a new way to hook-up teenagers on tobacco and nicotine.
But in Britain, public health officials are freely embracing the vaping practice as practical approach for people who want to quit smoking.