Patients and visitors will be banned from using electronic cigarettes in hospital grounds across Scotland within weeks.
NHS boards will be required to ensure that their grounds are smoke-free by April.
Electronic cigarettes don’t produce smoke – they produce water vapour – so why are they part of the ban?
According to a spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde:
These products are currently not regulated and there are concerns over potential safety issues with the products. In addition e-cigarettes mimic the habit and look of smoking and therefore provide negative role modelling for young people.
That’s ridiculous. The argument against smoking indoors is inarguable. A ban on cigs around hospital entrances is reasonable, given that running a gauntlet of cigs isn’t very nice. A ban on cigs in the grounds strikes me as a bit much but okay, there’s still a logic to it (and mess to clean up if there wasn’t a ban). But to ban things that don’t produce smoke on the grounds that they might have some undiscovered health risk and because they look a bit like cigarettes is utterly ridiculous. The risk from e-cigarettes to other people is zero, and the risk to users is probably zero too.
I don’t smoke any more, but I remember the cravings and the way stress would ramp them up to particularly unpleasant levels. Given that we’re rarely in hospitals for happy reasons – with a few exceptions such as maternity wards we’re usually there because we or somebody we care about is having a horrible time – banning nicotine addicts from doing something completely harmless is just kicking people when they’re down.