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Group Calls For Vaping Restrictions To Be Lifted In Hospitals

Here's an issue that vapers and smokers alike are likely to have strong opinions about: vaping and smoking on hospital grounds. Awareness of the issue has been raised by a pro-smoking group called Forest, which is calling for restrictions on the use of vapes on hospital grounds to be lifted.

According to the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco's report, 55% of The National Health Service won't allow e-cigarettes to be used outside.

According to Forest, this isn't right, and it's made all the worse by the fact that Public Health England has explicitly stated that it should be easier for vapers to use e-cigarettes on-site.

The group is calling for more freedom for smokers as well. They want patients, staff, and visitors to be able to smoke at the hospitals.

In the interest of collecting relevant information on this situation, Forest made Freedom of Information requests to 200 NHS trusts in England regarding their policies on e-cigarettes and cigarettes. Only 170 responded.

According to the responses collected between July and December of 2018, 45% of the trusts allowed e-cigs to be used outside, while 11% allowed e-cigs to be used indoors. 

It does seem that NHS trusts are beginning to take the advice of Forest and Public Health England to heart, as 14% plan to allow the use of e-cigs outside, in shelters, or in wards in 2019. 

According to the responses that Forest received, 76% of NHS trusts did not allow the use of cigarettes anywhere on hospital grounds. Additionally, 22% of the NHS trusts provided smoking shelters. 

The director of Forest, Simon Clark, commented: “We welcome the fact that some trusts are reviewing their policies on the use of e-cigarettes, but adopting a more sensible approach to vaping shouldn’t come at the price of a complete ban on smoking.”

According to Forest, smoking should be permitted by hospitals in all of their outdoor areas. Clark goes on to say, "Banning smoking on hospital grounds demonstrates a staggering lack of compassion for smokers who may be stressed, upset and in need of a comforting cigarette. A reasonable policy would lift restrictions on vaping, but give those who prefer to smoke the option of sheltered smoking areas.”

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