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Scotland's largest health board to develop plans for the use of e-cigarettes on its grounds

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Board of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has approved a policy change that will permit the use of e-cigarettes in designated areas within the health board’s healthcare grounds. 

The decision was taken following the emergence of new evidence from a range of sources which show e-cigarettes to be an effective tool in tackling harmful tobacco smoking rates. 

The move is also consistent with guidance recently published by Health Scotland which recommends that NHS smoking cessation services should support those choosing to quit smoking by using e-cigarettes.

The board also considered that allowing the controlled use of e-cigarettes on healthcare grounds will further support the drive to make all NHSGGC sites completely tobacco free in line with the national policy. 

Dr Emilia Crighton, NHS GGC Director of Public Health, said: “I welcome the Board’s decision to approve the use of e-cigarettes in specific areas within our grounds.  

“It is clear from research carried out by Public Health England, ourselves and others that e-cigarettes do have their place in the fight against tobacco and are being used effectively to help people stop smoking altogether. 

 “In NHSGGC we have carried out our own research which has revealed that some 32 per cent of smokers in our health board area intend to use e-cigarettes in their next quit attempt and that 18 per cent of recent ex-smokers used them to help give up tobacco in the past 12 months. 

“It is therefore very important that we organise our services to ensure that that we can safely and effectively manage the use e-cigarettes as part of suite of services to help people give up tobacco.”

Since  2014, NHSGGC smoke free community services have been e-cigarette friendly. The community teams have been providing support to those using e-cigarettes as part of their efforts to give up tobacco. 

It is also considered that the use e-cigarettes will be particularly helpful in the context of supporting mental health sites to become completely tobacco free. 

Dr Crighton added: “We know that the smoking rate is particularly high amongst people with mental health problems and we are of the view that the use of e-cigarettes on our sites will allow us to be able to provide particular support to this group of patients by re-designating traditional smoking areas for the use of e-cigarettes.” 

Now that this change to the policy has been approved NHSGGC will now: 

  • Identify specific areas within our grounds where e-cigarettes will be permitted - the policy change does not mean that e-cigarettes can be used anywhere on our grounds but in designated areas only. 
  • Develop a communications plan for staff, patients and visitors to make clear that tobacco and e-cigarettes are treated differently and communicate where people can use e-cigarettes on our grounds.

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