UKVIA member, Ecigwizard have opened two vaping shops at a West Midlands Healthcare Trust, in a ground-breaking move to offer staff, patients and visitors an alternative to smoking following a site-wide ban.
The move is part of a wider policy to make the sites entirely “smoke-free” with cigarette shelters turned into vaping areas. The cigarette ban will be enforced by cameras and specialised security staff, and anyone caught smoking on-site will receive a £50 fine.
Public Health England have previously called for all NHS trusts to go smoke-free, after declaring vaping to be 95% less harmful than smoking. The leading UK health body believes it should be made easier for staff and patients to choose vaping over smoking within hospital grounds. Despite this, many Trusts are yet to set out their smoke-free strategy.
Dr David Carruthers, Medical Director at West Midlands Healthcare Trust, said: “The Trust’s board, and our clinical leaders, are united in the view that smoking kills. Given that simple truth, we can no longer support smoking on our sites, even in shelters or cars. No more passive smoking on our sites is a public health necessity. Giving up smoking saves you money and saves your health.”
Joe Lucas, Head of Retail for Ecigwizard said: “Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust chose to partner with Ecigwizard because of our attention to detail on quality and safety, from testing e-liquids in a purpose-built laboratory and state of the art cleanroom. We are keen to offer vaping as an alternative to smoking, as a means to help people cut down or quit.”
Following San Francisco’s controversial ban on vaping, the West Midlands hospitals made headlines in America, as proof of the UK’s growing public health vaping agenda.
Ecigwizard Director and UKVIA Board Member, Ben Potter, added: “We are thrilled that Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust has taken positive steps forward in combating tobacco smoking. The UK continues to show the world that vaping products are a valuable tool in the long-term goal of creating a smoke-free world.”
John Dunne, Director of the UK Vaping Industry Association welcomed the news and said: “As the UK Government is expected to announce a plan to completely eradicate smoking by 2030, we’re going to need more people, organisations and institutions to take progressive and bold steps towards vaping, just like those taken by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.
“Prohibitive policies that treat vaping in the same way as smoking simply continue to expose people to tobacco harm and run the risk of missing out on the massive public health prize represented by vaping.
“Vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking and research shows that if you vape, you are three times more likely to quit smoking. The sooner that more people recognise that and take sensible steps to support vaping like those taken by the NHS in Birmingham, the better.
John added: “This is also a big vote of confidence in the responsible and respectable approach of UKVIA members. Well done to E-cig wizard for setting such a positive example of how the industry is ready and willing to engage with the NHS to reduce tobacco harm.”