Two hospitals in England have allowed an e-cigarette company to open vape shops on their premises as part of a move by the hospitals to ban smoking in and around their buildings.
The ban was introduced last week at two of the largest health institutions in the Birmingham area as “a public health necessity,” according to the BBC, because “smoking kills.”
“Given that simple truth, we can no longer support smoking on our sites, even in shelters or cars,” said Dr. David Carruthers, the medical director of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals N.H.S. Trust, which oversees the hospitals.
Ashtrays have been removed from the hospitals’ outdoor smoking areas, and anyone caught smoking on the premises faces a fine of 50 pounds, or $62. The use of e-cigarettes is allowed on the hospitals’ grounds, aside from near doorways, and former smoking shelters have been turned into vaping areas.
The two vape shops are operated by the e-cigarette company Ecigwizard.
The National Health Service in England attributed more than 480,000 hospital admissions to smoking in a one-year period from 2017 to 2018. And figures published this month by the N.H.S. showed that 77,800 people in England had died from smoking-related illness during that period.
Just over 14 percent of adults in England are smokers, according to the N.H.S., and more than 6 percent of adults use e-cigarettes, double the share in 2014. Half of e-cigarette users in the N.H.S. study said they had switched to vaping to quit smoking.