The government has said the National Health Service should set “clear” and “central” policies on e-cigarettes in mental health facilities.
Responding to a recommendation made in August by the UK’s Science and Technology Committee, the government said the NHS should issue guidance on e-cigarettes to all NHS mental health trusts.
The move would better inform trusts to ensure that they understand the physical and mental benefits of the harm reduction smoking alternative to their patients.
Until now, one third of the 50 mental health trusts located in England enforced a ban on e-cigarettes on their premises.
In a report responding to the committee’s recommendations, the Department of Health said
“The Government accepts this recommendation and stands by the position that tobacco smoking in NHS facilities is not appropriate.”
“The NHS will be guided by Public Health England’s recommendation that using an e‐cigarette regularly is much less harmful than tobacco smoking.”
“NHS England will provide guidance to mental health trusts that sets out that existing vapers should be permitted to use e-cigarettes as part of smoking cessation programmes, and that existing tobacco smokers should be supported to stop smoking through smoking cessation programmes, which may include switching to e-cigarettes use whilst in inpatient settings.”