With much controversy surrounding the topic of the health and safety of e-cigarettes and e liquid and seemingly high hopes for the future of fellow vaper’s, the vast majority of Scotland’s official health boards have taken a step backwards to enforce a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in all schools, hospitals and council buildings. According to the daily record, electronic cigarettes were originally manufactured as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes and “an aid to quitting smoking”. However, an apparent lack of research has led health experts to believe that they may be a harmful substitute resulting in the ban in Scotland.
Smoking traditional tobacco products in enclosed public spaces was banned in Scotland in 2006 and since the release of electronic cigarettes, many concerns have arisen in regards to the health of users and those exposed to second-hand vapour. Out of a total of 27 councils, 16 responded saying that they had banned e-cigarettes from their buildings, surrounding sports centres and schools while a further 6 reported that although they haven’t enforced a ban, they are presently looking into their current smoking policy.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde stated “the use of e-cigarettes in NHS grounds perpetuates the idea of smoking is acceptable in public areas” and a spokesman who responded on behalf of the Glasgow City Council added, “they are a replacement cigarette with an inhalable substance and therefore should be treated as cigarettes”.
Andy Kerr, a former labour health minister, said, “Many people using e-cigarettes were trying to give up the habit” and that “we should be extending a hand of support, not hindering them, but we need to regulate the content of e-cigarettes so that no one is being harmed.”
On his side was Sheila Duffy, a member of Action on Smoking and Health in Scotland, who added, “We need to maximise the potential benefits and minimise the possible negative impacts of the use of e-cigarettes.”
However, amidst the confusion of regulating e-cigarettes sat Simon Clark, a member of smoker’s lobby group Forest who spoke up and said that banning e-cigarettes in public residence was simply out of the question. He said, “an e-cigarette seems a reasonable compromise. People can puff on one without having to leave their desks.”
In support of Simon Clark’s view rests a few studies researching the effects that e-cigarettes have on the body and others in close proximity. One particular study showed that although electronic cigarette users exhale a considerable amount of nicotine, they do not pose as much as a threat to those around them in comparison to tobacco cigarettes that release 10 times more nicotine than e-cigarettes. In addition, e-cigarette users do not exhale any harmful combustion products that are found in tobacco-based products therefore making them a safer alternative in terms of second-hand vapour and smoke. Read more about this study here.
In light of Scotland’s health board’s understandable decision to ban e-cigarettes in public buildings such as schools and hospitals, there still remain a few vaping lounges dotted around the UK designed to allow vaper’s to enjoy their e-cigarettes in comfort, giving us fellow vaper’s hope for the near future.by