Health councils and Health Boards in Scotland are opting to ban electronic cigarettes use in their premises from fear that the devices might harm the people in the surrounding area. Many institutions such as schools as well as hospitals are also imposing similar restrictions on the device. The findings reported by Sunday Mail, the contentious electronic cigarette, which holds the potential of polarising views and opinions has received sharp criticism from health experts, has resulted to ban in most health councils and boards in Scotland.
Electronic cigarettes release vapour containing nicotine as opposed to smoke. As a result, the vapour does not have tar or other toxic substances that are emitted when tobacco is burnt. They are therefore considered a better and safer alternative when compared to traditional types. More people are considering electronic cigarettes to be a better method of helping them to quit smoking. However, because the product is relatively new, long term clinical studies have not been carried out to ascertain its safety and efficiency as well as drawing the appropriate conclusion whether to treat it similar to conventional tobacco cigarettes.
The study further found that out of the 8 Scotland Boards that participated, 7 had already imposed a ban an e-cigarette use in hospital premises. Clyde and NHS Greater Glasgow justified the ban arguing that allowing electronic cigarettes gave the public a perception that smoking was acceptable in public places. Out of the 27 Scotland councils that participated in the electronic cigarette study, 16 confirmed that e-cigarette smoking was not allowed in their schools, sports centres, and buildings. 6 others indicated that even though the devices were not disallowed, they were considering introducing change on their smoking rules.
The product is also likely to be banned by the Glasgow City Council. The council argue that because electronic cigarettes are used as a tobacco substitute, they should be subject to similar regulations. SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell, one of the people considered very instrumental in driving the ban adoption, embraced the move. In his argument, Maxwell strongly emphasised that neither tobacco cigarette nor electronic cigarette should be allowed in public places. He agrees that little research has been carried out on electronic cigarette and concerns about safety are therefore legitimate.
The former Labour minister of health, Kerr Andy, who was very instrumental in pushing the ban, was in cognisant of the large number using electronic cigarettes as a remedy for leaving the smoking habit. He pointed that these people require complete support and their efforts should not be hampered. Banning the device use in public places would be of benefit to them in promoting safety. Action on Smoking and Health Scotland representative Sheila Duffy stressed the need to take full advantage of the benefits e-cigarettes have to offer while eliminating the ill-effects to the extent possible.
Clark Simon, a Forest member, a lobby group for smokers, referred to the ban as a crazy move. In his view, electronic cigarettes are preferred more by people and should be allowed even when they are on their desks. The EU is considering including e-cigarettes among those in the scope to receive directives that target tobacco related products. A Scottish Government spokeswoman argued that e-cigarettes were unregulated at the present but their safety as well as efficacy ware yet to be proven. She however argued that the course of action in the future would be guided by decision of the European Union.