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E-cigarettes: "You can't force smokers to switch if they don't want to"

Tue 6th February, 2018

Forest has welcomed Public Health England's support for e-cigarettes but said it would resist further calls to remove smoking shelters or ban smoking on NHS sites.

Coinciding with the publication of its latest e-cigarettes evidence review, PHE has called on NHS Trusts "to become truly smoke free".

Trusts, it says, "should ensure e-cigarettes, alongside nicotine replacement therapies are available for sale in hospital shops; vaping policies support smokers to quit and stay smokefree; smoking shelters be removed; and frontline staff take every opportunity to encourage and support patients to quit."

Director Simon Clark said, "We welcome PHE's support for e-cigarettes but further attempts to remove smoking shelters or ban smoking on NHS sites will be fiercely resisted.

"E-cigarettes are great for some smokers who want to quit but you can't force smokers to switch if they don't want to. The key issue is choice.

"Regardless of the health risks, many people smoke because they enjoy it. Give them the choice of vaping but denying smokers the comfort of a cigarette when they may be at their most vulnerable is inhumane."

He added: "Vaping is a consumer driven success story. The problem with PHE's approach is that e-cigarettes could become just another smoking cessation aid alongside other nicotine replacement therapies. 

"If that happens they will almost certainly lose their appeal to independent-minded smokers who don't want the state dictating their behaviour."

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