Allow vaping in hospitals to help patients quit smoking, say health experts
Allow vaping in hospitals to help patients quit smoking, say health experts
E-cigarettes should be on sale in hospital shops, health body says
07 February, 2018, 01:40
Hospitals in England are being advised by Public Health England (PHE) to sell e-cigarettes and let patients vape indoors - advice that has met with some resistance.
Public Health England has published a new e-cigarette evidence review that affirms the potentially useful role they can play in helping people to quit smoking.
The stall could be down to smokers "incorrectly" believing vaping is as harmful as smoking.
Licencing e-cigarettes as medical quitting aids could be one way to get people to stop smoking, as it would allow Global Positioning System to prescribe the devices to patients.
But Professor Martin McKee, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, pointed out that a more extensive review in the U.S., published two weeks ago, was much more "cautious" about e-cigarettes' long-term safety.
Vaping should be widely encouraged as a way to help people quit smoking, and e-cigarettes should even be offered for sale in hospital shops, the government's public health body has said.
The experts found two in five smokers have never tried an e-cigarette.
It has called for e-cigarettes to be made available for sale in hospital shops.
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The research was carried out by experts from King's College London, the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, the University of Stirling and Cancer Research UK.
"It's positive to see that for the first time they've also referenced tobacco heating products (THPs) - and how the available information suggests that these may also be considerably less harmful than traditional cigarettes".
PHE called on smokers and health authorities to act now on the evidence reviewed in these latest reports.
He added: There is no reason why a hospital shouldn't designate some indoor areas where patients and visitors can vape.
"Anything that the [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] MHRA can do to make it easier for manufacturers we think would be helpful", said PHE health improvement director John Newton.
"Our new review reinforces the finding that vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking, at least 95% less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders".
'It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about their safety'.
It also concluded that there was a high level of misperception around e-cigarettes, with thousands of smokers believing that vaping is just as harmful as smoking.
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