The UK is once again confirmed as a model on the international scene, reaching a further milestone in the path of tobacco control. A free pass to the sale of e-cigs inside hospitals. The National Health Service has approved the opening of two electronic cigarette shops inside two of the largest public health facilities in the Birmingham area, the Sandwell General Hospital and the City Hospital.

The British goal is to become the first “smoke-free” country by 2030. This initiative that is a “public health necessity”, as declared by the medical director of the two structures, is part of a broader program aimed at reducing number of smokers who visit the British hospital environments every day.

Simultaneously with the sale initiative, ashtrays have been removed from the hospitals’ outdoor smoking areas and video surveillance controls have been implemented, with penalties for offenders up to £50. Furthermore, all the internal smoking areas have been converted and destinated for electronic cigarettes users, who can also use outdoor areas, as long as it is a good distance away from doorways. It was the Public Health of England (an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care) that promoted this initiative, in February 2018, after having recognized the significant advantages offered by electronic cigarettes as an alternative (up to 95% less harmful ) to quit traditional cigarettes.

There is no doubt that hospitals and pharmacies are strategic centers in the fight against smoking. However, resources are more and more limited and health workers are more overworked. In these conditions, it is difficult to face the tobacco emergency. A new strategic vision is necessary to have a large-scale impact. We have already shown that implementing the role of vape shops as health promotion centers would help many smokers to find anti-smoking support and advice even outside health facilities. The British goal of becoming smoke-free by 2030 is as ambitious as it is revolutionary, but achievable. You will see, once again England will be able to amaze the world ” – commented Riccardo Polosa.


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