Derriford Hospital is the largest hospital in Devon County and the largest hospital in the south west peninsula of the United Kingdom. Over 450,000 people live within the hospital’s general service area. Nearly 2 million people are within the hospital’s service area for specialized services and multiple levels of healthcare. Additionally, Derriford functions as a training institution for two medical schools.
Derriford is a big hospital in the United Kingdom.
The UK’s attitude towards vaping has generally been positive. They are more open to the idea of vaping as a tool to quit smoking while agreeing that non-smokers should not start vaping. Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at PHE (Public Health England), stated:
"There is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping. … The sooner you stop smoking the better.”
Hospitals in the United Kingdom have begun to make policy decisions that reflect the PHE’s stance on vaping. Two hospitals, City Hospital in Birmingham and Sandwell General Hospital in West Bromwich, have even opened vape shops on the hospital grounds themselves. Now, Derriford Hospital is joining the list of hospitals that have adopted pro-vaping policies.
Derriford Hospital has been tobacco-free since 2016. Soon, it will be “smoke-free” instead of “tobacco-free.” The terminology change was implemented to avoid confusion. Electronic cigarettes are considered tobacco products under the law. However, they are not considered smoking as electronic cigarettes produce vapor, not smoke.
To further draw a distinction between vaping and smoking, areas around the hospital will be labeled more clearly. Areas where visitors can smoke and vape will be clearly labeled with both signs and painted lines.
While smoking is completely banned on hospital grounds, the outer areas of the hospital will become vape friendly. However, even in vape-friendly areas, there will be signs instructing vapers to avoid vaping near the entrances of buildings and at bus stops.
Lastly, the hospital is considering handing out disposable vapes to smokers to encourage quitting. This would be a strong statement from the hospital. Most people trust their doctors. Having a medical professional handing them a vape would go a long way in convincing people that it is safe, and which would encourage them to try it. With the new rules in place, patients would not even have to leave the hospital to try their disposable.
This is a huge contrast to the US, where there is increasing media opposition to disposable vapes. While hospitals are considering giving out disposables to help smokers quit in the UK, vapers, vape shops, and vape manufacturers are still seeing increasing legislative bans and restrictions following the wave of illnesses from black market THC vapes. As time goes on, the differences between the two countries and their views on vaping seem to get wider and wider.
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