Vape stores have opened in two NHS hospitals in the West Midlands in a bid to help eliminate smoking.
It is hoped the shops – Run by Ecigwizard- will reduce the number of people smoking on hospital grounds after fines were brought in in July.
Anyone who lights up is now issued with a charge of £50 since July 5. The shops are placed at Sandwell General Hospital, in West Bromwich, and Birmingham City Hospital, both of which are run by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.
Using e-cigarettes outside is allowed, on the condition it takes place away from doorways, while smoking shelters have been converted into vaping areas.
Experts estimate that vaping, while not completely harmless, is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
They use a heat solution, called e-liquid, which typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings.
However, they don’t burn tobacco, tar or carbon monoxide, which is inhaled from cigarettes.
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust medical direction Dr David Carruthers, said eliminating passive smoking on its sites was a public health necessity.
He said: ‘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.’
Joe Lucas, head of retail for Ecigwizard, said his company was ‘incredibly happy’ to support the trust’s smoke-free status.
E-cigarette use continues to rise, with 6.3 per cent of British adults vaping in 2018, up from 5.5 per cent the previous year, according to figures analysed by NHS Digital earlier this month.
Just over half of those vaping said it was to help them quit smoking.
But despite their popularity, some scientists have accused health chiefs of ignoring growing evidence that shows vaping is harmful to health.
Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said there are grounds for ‘serious concern’ as long-term studies have not yet been carried out.
by Lucy Middleton
Post time: Jul-11-2019