Forth Valley backs ban on e-cigs as hospitals go smoke-free

  • NHS plans to elimate smoking at all hospitals by next month
  • Forth Valley backs extending ban to e-cigarettes
  • Anti-smoking charity ASH fears it is a step too far

Patients and visitors will be banned from using electronic cigarettes in hospital grounds within weeks.

NHS boards are required to ensure that their properties, including outdoor areas, are smoke-free by April.

Hospitals are cracking down on smoking

Hospitals are cracking down on smoking

Although the Scottish Government has left it to individual health boards whether they prohibit e-cigarettes, all but one has decided to completely ban the devices.

NHS Forth Valley is backing the clampdown, but says it will continue to offer other services to help smokers quit.

A spokeswoman for the health board said: “Our position is that e-cigarettes are currently not regulated and there are some concerns over potential safety.

“They also mimic and normalise the habit of smoking which provides a negative role model for young people.”

We are concerned that a blanket ban on e-cigarette use could discourage smokers from trying an alternative that might help them to move away from tobacco

Sheila Duffy, ASH

Only NHS Lothian will allow the restricted use of the devices in designated outdoor areas away from entrances.

However, the move has not been welcomed by anti-smoking health charity ASH Scotland, which claims they help some smokers quit.

Sheila Duffy, chief executive, said: “Given the devastating harm to health caused by tobacco use, we are keen to encourage smokers to try effective ways of quitting which for some people might include advice, nicotine replacement therapy or e-cigarettes.

“There is a clear case for hospital grounds to be free from tobacco use, which is always dangerous.

“However, we are concerned that a blanket ban on 
e-cigarette use could discourage smokers from trying an alternative that might help them to move away from tobacco.”

The local health board already has a tobacco control warden working at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert. His role is to patrol the ground asking people to put out cigarettes and directing them to local services to help them quit for good.

NHS Forth Valley has a dedicated Stop Smoking Team, which provides one-to-one appointments with specialist advisors, group cessation sessions in GP practices and patient outreach for those in hospital. The team also provides advice for health workers who want to stop smoking.

The spokeswoman added: “Quitting smoking is one of the most important and effective things a person can do to improve their health and quality of life.”

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