After a successful campaign led by Hull's Public Health Director Julia Weldon to have smoking banned from hospital sites, Chris Long, Chief executive of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, has turned to e-cigarettes to help visitors and patients adapt to this new legislation.
Mr Long has called for “a much more humane, and probably liberal, approach to the use of e-cigarettes in and around hospital" as this would be a "significant help” answering the current problems that have arisen from the smoking ban.
He praised e-cigarettes, saying that "I have a view that many people find e-cigarettes a much more satisfactory substitute than chewing gum or patches. I am not aware of any evidence that they create harm."
Currently visitors to the Hull Royal Infirmary are having to walk through "clouds of smoke" from tobacco cigarettes outside and smokers were being forced to quit tobacco during stressful admissions to hospital and Mr Long argues that the current arrangement simply "doesn't work".
City public health manager Tim Fielding echoed his calls by saying that e-cigarettes were a "huge issue" and vapers should not be forced into smoking shelters alongside cigarette smokers.
He said: "There is strong evidence that the benefits vastly outweigh the harms. E-cigarettes, from what we know at the moment, are an enormous opportunity to vastly improve rates of morbidity."
Hull has one of the highest smoking rates in the United Kingdom, but it has fallen in recent years from 39 percent in 2003, to 31 per cent in 2014.
Dr Dan Roper, a city GP and vice-chairman of the board, said he was seeing more patients who were giving up by using e-cigarettes.
He said: "It is an answer people are finding for themselves.”