E-cigarettes should be sold in hospitals, says leading health agency

Glen Mclaughlin
February 7, 2018

The recommendations come after Public Health England (PHE) carried out an independent review into e-cigarettes and found they contribute to 20,000 people quitting smoking each year.

Joyce Robins, of campaign group Patient Concern, told The Times that it was a bad idea to use up much-needed spaces in hospitals to create vaping areas.

Around 40 percent of smokers have never even tried an e-cigarette.

Patients should also be allowed to vape in hospital - and hospitals should ensure e-cigarettes are available in their shops, it was suggested.

Professor John Newton, director for health improvement at PHE, said: "Our new review reinforces the finding that vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking, at least 95% less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders".

The review found that the use of e-cigarettes in the United Kingdom has plateaued over the past few years at just under 3m.

Any smoker who has struggled to quit should try switching to an e-cigarette and get professional help, it said, adding: "The greatest quit success is among those who combine using an e-cigarette with support from a local stop smoking service".

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Approximately 2.9million adults in the United Kingdom use e-cigarettes, while 7.6million smoke ordinary cigarettes.

Doctors and nurses can not prescribe e-cigarettes to smokers wanting to quit because none has yet been licensed by the Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).

Smoking shelters are where patients and visitors go to for a cheeky fag.

It warned that one of the reasons the numbers have stopped increasing could be due to thousands of smokers "incorrectly" believing vaping is as harmful as smoking.

"Although not without risk, the overall risk of harm is estimated at less than 5 per cent of that from smoking tobacco; the risk of cancer has been calculated to be less than 1 per cent", said PHE experts in an editorial published in The Lancet.

The body also wants hospitals to become completely smoke-free.

Martin Dockrell, PHE tobacco control lead, said hospitals should consider setting aside single occupancy rooms for vapers. They wanted, he said, "to maximise the potential benefits, to give every smoker the best chance of quitting but also minimise any risks". But PHE believes many aren't bothering to try e-cigarettes in the mistaken belief that they are just as harmful.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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