NHS Tayside has updated its smoking policy, and is now permitting the use of e-cigarettes within the Board’s grounds.
The decision was taken following the emerging evidence that e-cigarettes can help people to reduce their use of tobacco and that e-cigarettes are likely to be less harmful to health than smoking tobacco.
The move is also consistent with current guidance from the Scottish Directors of Public Health which highlights that e-cigarettes can play a significant role in harm reduction.
The change in the policy means that e-cigarettes or electronic vaping devices can be used outdoors on NHS Tayside grounds but remain prohibited in buildings and enclosed spaces.
Anyone using an e-cigarette in the grounds should avoid entrances, doorways and seating areas to ensure that other site users are not exposed to nicotine vapour.
NHS Tayside does not allow the charging of e-cigarettes or vaping devices in its buildings.
Consultant in public health pharmacy Andrew Radley said: “We are pleased to be able to update our smoking policy to take account of the latest scientific evidence.
“NHS Tayside is a health-promoting organisation and encourages all of our patients, visitors and staff to observe our smoking policy and keep all of our premises and grounds smoke-free.
“We would advise our patients that it is better for their health if they do not smoke at all and that they should explore all of the routes available to help them give up. E-cigarettes are almost certainly less harmful than tobacco, and if people are using them as an aid to quit smoking, that is a positive step.”
Support to stop smoking or refrain from smoking while on NHS sites is available to patients, visitors and staff from the NHS Tayside Smoke Free Services and local pharmacies.
If you would like support around your smoking, call NHS Tayside Smoke Free Services on 0845 600 9996.
Giving up smoking is the single most important lifestyle decision that anyone can make to improve their health immediately.
Anyone who smokes in Tayside can go along to their own local pharmacy for a free consultation and if they wish to stop can access a free 12-week programme of stop smoking support and products, including NRT and Champix.
If people choose to continue to smoke, NHS Tayside Smoke Free Services recommends the following:
Helpful: If you do smoke, stop smoking tobacco and switch to e-cigarette to reduce the harm smoking is doing to your body.
Better: Seek help from ward staff or local Community Pharmacy Services. They can provide advice on using products such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy that can help you move towards stopping smoking.
Best: Seek help to quit smoking altogether from your local Community Pharmacy. This will improve your chances of quitting by using skilled support to help you stop smoking.
Medication such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy or Champix is available as a programme of support and is free.
Health benefits to quitting smoking include:
· 20 minutes after quitting your blood pressure and pulse return to normal.
· 48 hours - no nicotine is left in your body. Your senses of taste and smell are greatly improved.
· 72 hours - your breathing becomes easier and your energy levels increase.
· 2-12 weeks after quitting smoking your circulation improves and exercise can be easier.
· 3-9 months - any coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve.
· Within one year the risk of heart attack is halved.
· Within 10 years the risk of lung cancer is halved and the risk of heart attack is at the same level as non-smokers.
· Medium to long term – stopping smoking at any age increases your life expectancy, provided you stop before the onset of serious disease. Even if you have developed a disease, you can benefit from stopping as your body will be under less strain and be able to fight it more easily.