The HSE has announced it is banning the use of e-cigarettes in all health service facilities, including hospitals in the county and across the country from May 1. From Thursday next week the use of e-cigarettes will not be permitted in any HSE building or on any HSE Tobacco-Free Campus.
“As the organisation responsible for health promotion and improvement, health protection and the prevention of illnesses and disease, the HSE has made a commitment that all its campuses will be tobacco-free by 2015. The majority of public hospitals now operate smoke-free campuses, as do many primary care and administrative facilities”, a spokesperson for the HSE said in a statement.
Dr. Stephanie O’Keeffe, National Director, Health and Wellbeing, HSE further commented that ‘The Tobacco Free Campus' policy is aimed at changing social norms around tobacco use. It also actively encourages and supports people to quit smoking.
The decision to ban the use and sale of e-cigarettes in HSE facilities follows a detailed review of their safety and the impact of e-cigarettes on the smoke-free campus policy.Dr O'Keefe says there is as yet no conclusive proof that e-cigarettes are “safe” for long-term use, or are effective as a smoking cessation aid.
“While we will keep this evidence under ongoing review, the e-cigarettes ban is being introduced as e-cigarettes pose a challenge to smoke-free campus enforcement and come with safety concerns for a healthcare environment.”‘Smoking is the single leading cause of illness in Ireland, responsible for a range of respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and cancers, and for over 5,200 deaths every year.
Dr. O’Keeffe concluded: “Quitting smoking is the best thing someone can do for their health and we will continue to treat tobacco use and addiction as a healthcare issue. The health services provide and promote a range of safe and evidence-based services, supports and aids that can help people to quit – in many cases doubling their chances of success. We encourage people to try to quit, to keep trying, and to use a safe and proven support to help them stay quit.”
All HSE service managers nationwide have been informed of this change and have been advised to implement the policy from May 1.