What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine through inhaled vapour. Most e-cigarettes contain a heating element and a cartridge containing nicotine, glycerine and water. Information regarding the use of individual e-cigarettes is made available by the manufacturers in package inserts.
Some people have found that e-cigarettes help them to cut down and quit smoking but Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) are currently the preferred option, because products such as nicotine patches are a licensed medicine and, therefore, safer to use.
Are e-cigarettes safe?
The smoke produced from burning tobacco in cigarettes contains about 4,000 ingredients, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. Since e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and are not burned, they are thought to be much safer and research is ongoing within this area.
Which types of e-cigarettes can be used and where?
Whilst in our hospitals we recommend the use of either disposable or rechargeable e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, e-cigarettes are not permitted for use in all services due to identified risks and for those under the age of 18 years. Please ask a member of the ward staff for more details as to potential risks and whether they are permitted for use during your stay. Should they be permitted for use, both disposable and rechargeable models are available on request during admission.
In pregnancy, e-cigarettes are a great deal safer than smoking, but we don’t yet know if there are any risks to the fetus from exposure to e-cigarette vapour, so licensed stop-smoking medications are currently the recommended option. However, if a pregnant woman has chosen to use an e-cigarette in order to quit or to reduce the number of cigarettes that she smokes, she should not be discouraged from doing so. All pregnant smokers can be referred to their local stop-smoking service, or a smoking-in-pregnancy specialist, for advice and support.
Alternatively, you can bring in your own e-cigarettes but these must be risk assessed by a member of staff prior to use. Please ask a member of the ward staff for more details.
Your ward team will advise you on identified areas (such as courtyard areas or single occupancy bedrooms) where you can use your e-cigarette but the preferred option will be to use an e-cigarette outside in the grounds rather than in the buildings across the Trust.
Charging of re-chargeable e-cigarettes
Ward staff can assist you to safely charge your e-cigarette following a few simple checks; this is because there have previously been fires caused by e-cigarettes where an incorrect charger was used.
- Only use the charger that comes with your e-cigarette or battery – other chargers can be a fire risk.
- Look out for the CE mark that indicates chargers comply with European Safety standards to prevent over-charging.
- Never leave e-cigarettes plugged in for long periods, overnight or whilst unsupervised.
- Keep batteries away from anything flammable or where spills are likely.
Pay close attention to any warnings supplied with the product such as over-tightening of the screwed connection which could cause product failure or injury.
How do I dispose of used e-cigarettes?
Do not throw your re-chargeable e-cigarettes into a general waste bin. Please give them to a member of the ward staff who will safely dispose of them for you as special waste.
You can dispose of your disposable e-cigarettes and used cartridges in the general waste bins provided. For more information, please speak to a member of staff on your ward.
L944, V4, 11/01/2022 (archive 11/01/ 2025)