Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Hospitals should sell e-cigarettes and provide vaping lounges, health officials say

Plans to prescribe e-cigarettes on the NHS have collapsed following the abandonment of the only product licensed for medical use Plans to prescribe e-cigarettes on the NHS have collapsed following the abandonment of the only product licensed for medical use
Melissa Porter | 06 February, 2018, 19:37

A spokesperson for the UK Vaping Industry Association said the review was "yet another ringing endorsement for the positive public health opportunity that vaping represents".

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. The review found vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking, and switching completely from smoking to vaping leads to substantial health benefits.

Government officials should also help manufacturers license e-cigarettes as medical quitting aids, PHE recommended.

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.

It comes as Public Health England (PHE) urged hospitals in Britain to begin selling e-cigarettes and to provide patients with vaping lounges.

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

In a review of evidence on e-cigarettes commissioned by the government-backed authority Public Health England, experts said e-cigarettes could already be helping some 20,000 United Kingdom smokers a year to quit tobacco - and possibly many more.

SMOKERS in Wales should be encouraged to instead use e-cigarettes, South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar has said. "One is not allowing smoking on the premises; the other is helping every smoker to quit".

"Single occupancy rooms are quite common in mental health trusts so that makes it very easy for people to vape in a single occupancy room without any annoyance to anybody else".

At least 20,000 people a year could be giving up cigarettes thanks to vaping, according to Public Health England's (PHE) latest review, which said more could be done to get people to switch to products that are far safer than smoking.

"Almost half of smokers have never tried an e-cigarette possibly because they have views about how risky they are which are not founded on the evidence".

"When people smoke tobacco cigarettes, they inhale a lethal mix of 7,000 constituents, 70 of which are known to cause cancer", she says.