Health bosses in Glasgow have agreed to allow the use of e-cigarettes in designated areas within hospital grounds.
The decision was taken after evidence showed e-cigarettes are an effective tool in tackling tobacco smoking rates.
Dr Emilia Crighton, director of Public Health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, said: “I welcome the Board’s decision to approve the use of e-cigarettes in specific areas within our grounds.
“It is clear from research carried out by Public Health England, ourselves and others that e-cigarettes do have their place in the fight against tobacco and are being used effectively to help people stop smoking altogether.
“In NHSGGC we have carried out our own research which has revealed that some 32 per cent of smokers in our health board area intend to use e-cigarettes in their next quit attempt and that 18 per cent of recent ex-smokers used them to help give up tobacco in the past 12 months.
“It is therefore very important that we organise our services to ensure that we can safely and effectively manage the use of e-cigarettes as part of a suite of services to help people give up tobacco.”
Since 2014 NHSGGC smoke free community services have been e-cigarette friendly. The community teams have been providing support to those using e-cigarettes as part of their efforts to give up tobacco.
It is also considered that the use e-cigarettes will be particularly helpful in the context of supporting mental health sites to become completely tobacco free.
Dr Crighton added: “We know that the smoking rate is particularly high amongst people with mental health problems and we are of the view that the use of e-cigarettes on our sites will allow us to be able to provide particular support to this group of patients by re-designating traditional smoking areas for the use of e-cigarettes.”
The health board will now identify specific areas within their grounds where e-cigarettes will be permitted and develop a communications plan for staff, patients and visitors to follow.