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Vape shops open at two West Midlands hospitals

Vape shops opened last week in two NHS hospitals in the West Midlands to help stop smoking on hospital grounds. Ecigwizard is operating the two shops, which are in Birmingham City Hospital and Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich. The Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust operates both hospitals. The shops opened during the trust’s campaign to eliminate smoking on hospital grounds. People are now subject to a £50 fine if they smoke tobacco products. People can use e-cigarettes outdoors if they do so away from doorways, and the hospitals have also converted smoking shelters to vaping areas.

Dr David Carruthers, the trust’s medical director, said that it’s a public health obligation to eliminate passive smoking at their hospitals. The NHS credited smoking for over 480,000 hospital admissions from 2017 to 2018, and NHS data published this month showed that about 78,000 people died due to smoking-related illnesses during that period.

According to an NHS study, slightly over 14% of UK adults smoke tobacco products. But, more than 6% of adults vape, which is more than twice as many in 2014. 50% of e-cigarettes users in the study said that they switched to using the product to stop smoking.

Public Health England published a report last year, which concluded that the risks posed by vaping were “only a small fraction” of those caused by using tobacco products and that people who completely switched to using e-cigarettes experienced “substantial health benefits”. The agency later recommended that hospitals sell e-cigarettes in their shops to help make their sites smoke-free, and encourage employees and patients to stop smoking.

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