Nottingham University hospital has become the first NHS Hospital Trust in England to allow e-cigarette use on its grounds after the ban was lifted to help smokers quit.

As e-cigs are considered 95% safer than cigarettes, the NHS has decided to help smokers tackle their habits.

“We have a duty to help our patients and staff make healthy life choices, and can’t ignore the potential benefits of electronic cigarettes as a nicotine replacement therapy. We’re now allowing e-cigarettes on our grounds to give our patients, staff and visitors more choice in how they quit smoking,” said Dr Stephen Fowlie, Medical Director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Until now, vaping was prohibited on Trust grounds in the UK. But, unlike cigarettes, e-cigs will be allowed outside hospitals. They will still be disallowed inside the hospitals.

The policy was approved on Thursday 28 April and joins Scottish Hospitals that allow e-cig use on their grounds.

The refreshed policy also aims to strengthen the promotion of smoking cessation schemes to ensure staff and patients have access to stop smoking services.

Prof John Britton, the director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies and Respiratory Consultant at NUH, said the one of the most effective things the NUH could do to improve the health of patients was to help smokers quit.

“We need to encourage all patients and visitors who smoke and find it difficult to abstain while in hospital grounds to use medicinal nicotine, or an electronic cigarette. Approving the use of electronic cigarettes is an important step towards achieving completely smoke free hospitals in Nottingham.”