Just a quickie: a headline article in the Evening News claims that Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has 'blown' £600,000 on clearing smoking-related litter since the smoking ban. Clearly this is another attempt to attempt to outlaw smoking on hospital grounds, but to my mind the real question is why anyone has tried to extrapolate smoking-related cleaning costs from total cleaning costs at the hospital. More observations that smoke has been seen curling its way into hospital windows. The way to prevent generalised hostility against smokers on hospital sites is to provide appropriate spaces for people to smoke where they can be comfortable, reasonably safe and won't get in the way of others, but such common sense would be interpreted as an attempt to 'normalise' smoking and cried off the agenda.
Anyone would think that an electronic gadget that produces no obvious waste problems and emits no tar would be a welcome addition to the anti-smoker's apparatus. But the e-cigarette has been widely attacked for not having been proven to be safe: not only concerning their direct use, but there have been stories abound about e-cigs exploding while being charged, children swallowing cartridges, and doubtless others. Now, incredibly, Borders Council Licensing Board has tabled a motion to ban e-cigarette use in licensed premises. (Stop press: the licensing board has requested more information before agreeing to ban e-cigarettes. I hope they find it's more trouble than it's worth.)
These days there is not even the excuse that most e-cigs resemble real cigarettes and their use presents staff with potential difficulties in enforcing the smoking ban. It's a case of 'they may not be safe', and for some reason this is a reason to ban them. Is it really about normalising smoking? or the idea that people cannot assess safety, even with the help of widely available data?
Official objections to e-cigs versus Forest in debate two months ago here.
These were the words of Donald Henderson, head of public health policy at the Scottish Govt at the ASH Scotland E-cigarette summit in April when asked whether Scotland should follow the Welsh lead on bans in public places:
"The arguments are different [from smoking], the arguments will be public nuisance based and we will get away with that."
Expect more of this.
If the story about Edinburgh Royal Infermary is true, it says a lot more about the NHS's inability to control it's costs than it does about the amount of smoking.
£600,000 over 10 years. Isn't that at least 4xFTE in costs just emptying bins? They're paying TOO MUCH.
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