LONDON – Two hospitals in northern England have authorized an electronic cigarette company to open vape stores in their premises, as part of an initiative to ban smoking in and around their buildings.
The ban was introduced last week in two of the largest health facilities in the Birmingham area, termed a "public health necessity," according to the BBC because "smoking kills."
"Given this simple truth, we can no longer support smoking on our sites, even in shelters or cars," said Dr. David Carruthers, medical director of Sandwell Hospitals and West Birmingham N.H.S. Trust, which oversees hospitals.
Ashtrays have been removed from outside smoking areas of the hospital and anyone caught smoking locally is fined £ 50 or $ 62. The use of electronic cigarettes is permitted on the premises of the hospital, except for nearby entrance doors, and the old smoking shelters have been turned into vaping areas.
The two vape shops are run by Ecigwizard, an electronic cigarette company.
The National Health Service in England has attributed more than 480,000 smoking hospitalizations over a one-year period from 2017 to 2018. figures released this month by N.H.S. showed that 77,800 people in England had died from a smoking-related illness during this period.
According to N.H.S., just over 14% of adults in England smoke, and more than 6% use electronic cigarettes, double the proportion of 2014. Half of electronic cigarette users in the N.H.S. study said that they had switched to vaping to stop smoking.
Smoking was banned in UK hospitals in 2007, and health officials urged N.H.S. Since 2013, hospitals are completely non-smoking. Since then, most British hospitals have banned smoking on their property and the image of patients carrying their intravenous infusion to outdoor smoking areas has largely disappeared.
Despite the growing prevalence and increasing popularity of vaping around the world, this practice has been criticized. By claiming that e-cigarettes were creating a nicotine epidemic among teenagers, San Francisco banned their sale last month. Product critics in the US say they are becoming the new way for the tobacco industry to catch teens.
But in Britain, public health officials have recognized that the use of e-cigarettes is effective for people who want to quit. An independent report on e-cigarettes, published last year by the British Public Health Agency, concluded that spraying was "only a tiny fraction of the risks of smoking" and that the full passage to vaporization brought "Substantial health benefits".
Public Health England subsequently recommended that e-cigarettes be available for sale in hospital stores to help create a smoke-free environment and encourage patients and employees to quit smoking. .
"It's not as drastic as it may sound at first," said Dr Debbie Robson, a researcher on tobacco addiction at King's College London, on the new Birmingham hospital policy. She added that electronic cigarettes were allowed in most British psychiatric hospitals, including in the interior.
Dr. Robson stated that the UK public health authorities agreed that it was far more prudent to switch to e-cigarettes than to smoke regular cigarettes, an argument that the independent report also examines.
Although nicotine is fueling cigarette addiction, the drug itself is not the single most serious health hazard, said Ann McNeill, lead author of the public health report and professor of tobacco addiction at King's. College of London. "Toxic smoke is the cause and the main cause of all tobacco-related illnesses and deaths," she said in the report.
The report says that regular use of electronic cigarettes in the country is almost entirely reserved for people who have already smoked. And the N.H.S. The report found a significant drop in the smoking rate among young people – it dropped to 6% in 2016 from almost 20% in 2001.
Dr. Robson said his admission to the hospital could be a powerful thought-provoking factor on smoking. And the most effective hospitals for reducing smoking are those who "have a route to treating tobacco dependence embedded in hospital services," she said, rather than simply banning smoking.