Nottingham University Hospital NHS trust has become the first Hospital Trust in England to allow the use of electronic cigarettes on its premesis.
The trust which is made up of the Queen Medical Centre and City Hospital in Nottingham, revealed the decision after a review into e-cigarettes by the Royal College of Physicians concluded that vaping was "much safer" than smoking and aided quitting, alongside the recent Public Health England Evidence Review that found e-cigarettes to be at least 95% safer than 'traditional' cigarettes.
Dr Stephen Fowlie, Medical Director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We have a duty to help our patients and staff make healthy life choices, and can't ignore the potential benefits of electronic cigarettes as a nicotine replacement therapy. We're now allowing e-cigarettes on our grounds to give our patients, staff and visitors more choice in how they quit smoking."
Previously the use of e-cigarettes, like tobacco, was prohibited on hospital grounds, but this new change in legislation means e-cigarettes can be used outside but not in hospital buildings. Tobacco use is still banned.
Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies and respiratory consultant at NUH, said: "Helping smokers to quit is one of the most effective things that NUH can do to improve the health of patients.
"We need to encourage all patients and visitors who smoke and find it difficult to abstain while in hospital grounds to use medicinal nicotine, or an electronic cigarette. Approving the use of electronic cigarettes is an important step towards achieving completely smoke free hospitals in Nottingham."
Previously Professor Britton has previously called for the NHS to offer e-cigarettes as part of a prescription service for stopping smoking, "As for provision on prescription, I also see the point of that and I can see the benefits of it.”