In a bold effort to help alleviate smoking levels, two NHS (National Health Service) hospitals in the West Midlands area have opened two vape stores. The two outlets are run by Ecigwizard, one of which is in Sandwell General Hospital and Birmingham City Hospital. Both hospitals are a part of the NHS trust.
Since 5 July, people are now eligible to be fined 50 pounds if they light up a cigarette on hospital grounds. Security cameras have been put in place for such a reason. However, the catch with the new fines system is that e-cigarettes and vaping devices are not included in the fine list. This means that smoking an e-cigarette outside is allowed, permitting it is away from doorways. Likewise, smoking shelters have been converted into vaping areas.
The government’s big plan to reduce smoking levels
While there is some conjecture regarding whether vaping is a better alternative to smoking or a way to quit smoking, the English government are trying to use the trend of vaping to their advantage. It is a big part of the government’s long-term plan to completely eradicate smoking by 2030.
Essentially, the government is compelling the tobacco industry to fund programmes that ultimately encourage users to quit the habit. The UK has been one of the pioneers in dropping smoking levels, with less than 15% of the population identifying as smokers.
E-cigarette use has been increasing massively, with 6.3% of British adults vaping in 2018, compared to 5.5% in 2017. Moreover, 51% of responders believed that switching to vaping would help them quit smoking. In Australia, the number is increasing as well, according to this website the number is increased by 4.8% if you compare with the previous year.
Whether the government’s bold plan works remains to be seen. What is likely, however, is for vaping to continue to grow in popularity, particularly amongst young adults and adolescents.