NNA Continues Call For NHS Action

Posted 14th May 2019 by Dave Cross
The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) champions the rights of adult nicotine users and frequently engages with decision makers. Having pressed the urgent need for health professionals to be better educated about nicotine, NNA associate Terry Walker recently issued a challenge to an NHS hospital’s vaping policy.

Last month, the NNA said: “We are in the second decade of the 21st century but NHS trusts seem to be stuck in the past and not yet caught up on where the government is going. If NHS England truly seeks to reduce smoking by any means, it should be more imaginative in its approach and, if nothing else, at least listen to the messages coming from government and its institutions.”

Responding to research that found only 7% of GPs felt confident in the knowledge to recommend vaping to smokers, Martin Cullip, one of the NNA trustees, said more education was needed for doctors: This is a common theme I’ve come across before where many GPs believe vaping to be harmful. Vaping takes most of the harmful chemicals out – any that are left in there are at very low levels - so you’re delivering the nicotine in a much cleaner form. There’s no reason why doctors cannot recommend these devices but if they are not aware of the reduction in harm then they’re not going to do that.”

The NNA said: “It is disappointing that GPs are either unaware of, or are wilfully ignoring, the advice of their own professional association along with guidance from national government-backed institutions.”

The problem isn’t confined to GP surgeries. Terry Walker, an 87-year-old retired R & D scientist, has written a guest blog for the NNA about his experiences with a local NHS Trust.

During an extended period in hospital, Terry found himself banned from vaping. He challenged this rule “each day to provoke a meeting with senior staff”. Eventually, the Matron and Ward Manager spoke to him; they informed Terry that they considered his actions to be “aggression to staff”.

The hospital was one of many that had simply added the word “e-cigarettes” to an existing smoking policy, ignoring the advice from Public Health England, The Royal College of Physicians and the government.

Terry’s tale ends on a slightly positive note, and can be read in full in the link below.

How do your local NHS services treat you when it comes to vaping? Do you believe they could do more? Why not join the conversation on the POTV forum or sign up as an NNA supporter for free.

Resources:

  • Free NNA supporter sign-up – [link]
  • Donate to the NNA – [link]
  • “My challenge to an NHS hospital’s vaping policy” – [link]
  • NHS Trusts Ignore RCP Advice – [link]
 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker