As I reported in last week’s Vaping News the UK’s NHS has now totally confirmed its support of vaping with not one but two vape shops opening within hospitals.
Yes America, you read that right, vape shops plying their trade inside NHS hospitals. Put that in your ban all the vaping things pipe and vape on it 😉
EcigWizard are the pioneers of this exciting new frontier of vape sales, and reactions from the wider vaping community to the news has, as you might expect, been extremely positive, to say the least.
The two shops will open in the foyers of both Sandwell General Hospital in West Bromwich and City Hospital, Birmingham. Sandwell has recently banned smoking from the hospital grounds and is imposing £50 fines on smokers caught in the act. Shelters once used by smokers are now to be only used by vapers, though vaping in the grounds is perfectly acceptable.
EcigWizard’s head of retail, Joe Lucas, said:
We’re incredibly happy to announce the opening of our two shops at Sandwell and City Hospital, supporting the Trust’s smoke-free status.
We are keen to offer vaping as an alternative to smoking, as a means to help people cut down or quit.
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.
He was joined by the company’s director, Ben Potter, who praised the NHS trusts for taking the bold step adding:
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.
As I said, are you watching America!?
Long Standing Close Ties To the NHS
EcigWizard are no strangers to working alongside the NHS either. The announcement of the opening of the shops on the company’s website states:
Ecigwizard, are celebrating their eight-year anniversary as one of the leading retailers in the e-cigarette industry and have been working with stop smoking services for the past 5 years.
Throughout the year, they have attended various NHS events where they have handed out free e-cigarette starter kits along with supplying information about vaping, in an attempt to encourage smokers to seek alternatives to conventional cigarettes.
Dr David Carruthers is the medical director of the trusts involved and he was extremely positive about the shops opening:
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.
Every alternative is available and we ask visitors and patients to work with us to enforce these changes. Giving up smoking saves you money and saves your health.
No more passive smoking on our sites is a public health necessity.
Louise Ross from the New Nicotine Alliance has also worked closely with the company:
EcigWizard has been working closely with the Leicester City Stop Smoking Service since 2014.
Their enthusiasm for helping smokers to switch to a safer product was clear from the outset, and the New Nicotine Alliance applauds this innovative partnership.
Peterborough based EcigWizard was founded in 2011 and say they’re the largest UK based online and bricks and mortar vape chain supplying around 600 independent vape shops up and down the country. They also supply white label e-liquid to 80 companies and have 45 owner owned franchise shops.
Positive Reactions From The Wider UK Vape Community
Last year Public Health England published its E-cigarettes and heated tobacco products: evidence review report in which it called for among many other recommendations, NHS grounds to become smoke-free and most importantly to allow e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapies to be sold within hospitals. The review also recommended creating ‘vape lounges’ within hospitals and allowing vaping in designated single rooms.
I wrote a detailed article on that: Resounding Support Of Vaping In New Public Health England Review and never for the life of me thought we’d see vape shops opening up!
It would seem Sandwell and Birmingham NHS trusts have not only embraced the PHE’s recommendations but positively run with them.
John Dunne, director of the UK Vaping Industry Association was delighted:
As the 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.
Absolutely, and sorry for repeating myself, are you watching America?
The New York Times has picked up on the story and quoted Dr Debbie Robson, a researcher in tobacco addiction at King’s College London, who said:
It’s not as radical as it might first appear
To us here in the UK maybe it’s a natural step and hardly a radical move, but it sure is a big one – a case of one small step for e-cig shops but one giant leap for vaping in the UK 😉 For American’s in particular, I’m pretty sure this is gobsmacking!
A point that the NNA’s Bernice Evans picked up on however she feels the smoking fines are a little too punative:
The announcement that vape shops will be operating from NHS premises has raised much media interest and been seen as controversial by many, but it shouldn’t be.
The government’s tobacco control plan spoke of exploring the benefits of reduced-risk products for smokers who are considering quitting, so this is a logical step.
Unfortunately, it is overshadowed by other overly coercive policies towards smokers, and the imposition of fines which are draconian and divisive.
Smokers will have better success when they are ready to quit rather than feeling they are being forced to.
We look forward to more hospitals adopting an enlightened harm reduction approach
Sadly I doubt any of the manic and hysterical anti-vape crowd of America will take any notice, which is not only a shame, it’s bordering on criminal given the threat vaping is under over the pond.