Outdoor Vaping Now Allowed On Tayside NHS Grounds
Scottish policy makers are way ahead of the rest of the UK when it comes to progressive, common-sense health choices. Following new guidelines from the Scottish Directors of Public Health, vaping with e cigarettes and related electronic devices is now allowed outdoors at Tayside NHS Board’s hospitals, surgeries and clinics.
Since 2015, evidence has been growing that a switch to vaping can help smokers to quit the cigarette habit. NHS Tayside’s bold move acknowledges the fact that e-cigarettes can play an important role in reducing the harm caused by smoking tobacco.
Tayside NHS Board’s new vaping rules
Tayside NHS Board’s new rules allow vapers using any kind of electronic e-cigarette the freedom to vape outdoors in the grounds of Tayside hospitals, surgeries and health-care facilities. Sensibly, the rules advise that vapers should avoid doorways, entrances and shared seating. Enclosed spaces are also no-go areas.
Tayside vapers also need to be aware that charging your mod’s and batteries isn’t allowed on NHS property.
Basically, the new Tayside policy lays down a few simple rules for responsible vaping. It sounds like a positive move that would be beneficial across all UK NHS premises.
Tayside NHS Board advises smokers to switch to e-cigarettes
While announcing the new policy change, Tayside NHS Board also advised smokers to switch to vaping. The message from the Tayside health experts couldn’t be more clear:
“If you do smoke, stop smoking tobacco and switch to e-cigarettes to reduce the harm”
The advice on e-cigarettes was backed up by other free support services that the Tayside health providers are offering in local communities. These services include advice on quitting smoking from hospital ward staff and local Community Pharmacy Services.
Ideally, Tayside NHS Board would prefer Scottish smokers to quit completely. To help smokers to achieve this, Tayside Community Pharmacies are offering a free 12-week ‘stop smoking’ programme. The programme includes practical advice, along with therapies like nicotine replacement or the craving reduction medication ‘Champix’.
The benefits of giving up smoking
According to NHS Tayside, “Giving up smoking is the single most important lifestyle decision that anyone can make to improve their health immediately.”
With that in mind, it’s worth listing a few of the benefits that can be gained from a tobacco free lifestyle:
• Within 72 hours breathing improves and you have increased energy.
• Between 2 and 12 weeks after quitting tobacco you have improved circulation and fitness.
• After 3 to 9 months your “smoker’s cough” and breathing problems start to disappear.
• After about a year you have 50% less chance of suffering a heart attack.
• If you can stay free from cigarettes for 10 years you are 50% less likely to develop lung cancer.
Quitting smoking also improves your general heath – especially if you already have an existing medical condition. Cigarette smoking is known to reduce the body’s ability to fight infection and disease. Stopping smoking doesn’t just improve the quality of your life – it also extends your life expectancy.
E-cigarettes – a message to UK decision makers
Tayside NHS Board were the first UK Health Board to relax the rules on outdoor vaping. They made their move in response to the Joint Position Statement issued by Professor Alison McCallum, Chair of Scottish Directors of Public Health on the 4th of December 2015.
The statement leaves decisions on allowing e-cigarettes to be used on ‘NHS or other Smoke Free Grounds’ down to individual Health Boards. We can only hope that Health Boards across the UK follow NHS Tayside’s example.
Growing numbers of health professionals are recognising that switching from tobacco to e-cigarettes is a positive step towards improved health and a longer lifespan. Let’s hope that the message gets across to other UK decision makers in national and local government.