The Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 amended sections of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 (“the 2005 Act”) to provide for offences to be introduced in respect of smoking around hospital buildings.
As a result, the 2005 Act now provides for the introduction of formal no-smoking areas outside hospital buildings and for offences of allowing smoking in these areas and of smoking in these areas. The Act gives the Scottish Ministers powers to make secondary legislation (“Regulations”) to finalise the details before these provisions can be brought into force.
The three matters which remain to be determined are:
a) the distance from hospital buildings which will form the perimeter of the no-smoking areas outside a hospital building and how the perimeter around the building is determined in so far as whether the perimeter ends the specified distance from a wall or from any part of the building structure or otherwise;
b) the manner of display, form and content of no-smoking notices; and
c) whether there are any exceptions required for specific hospitals or specific buildings, or specific areas of land which should not be considered hospital grounds or part of the no-smoking areas respectively under the definitions in the Act.
Additionally, a question not raised at the time of the Act about the use of Nicotine Vapour Products (NVPs) - including electronic cigarettes - around hospitals has arisen more recently. As evidence shows that the use of NVPs is less harmful than smoking and as the proportion of smokers who are also using NVPs is growing, there is now an opportunity to consider if the smoking policies of health boards should now allow vaping on hospital grounds to help eliminate the continued flouting of NHS policies aimed at preventing smoking anywhere on hospital grounds. Many boards already allow vaping but some do not. There is a need for consistency. This is an opportunity to offer clear guidance to health boards on whether the use of NVPs on hospital grounds should be allowed as an alternative for smokers visiting or working in hospitals.
This question will have no legal bearing, as the use of NVPs is not covered in the 2005 Act in respect of either hospital grounds or around hospital buildings. However, it would be useful to know if there was public support for a Scotland-wide approach to the use of NVPs as an alternative to smoking on hospital grounds.
This consultation asks for your views on seven specific proposals. It asks if you support our view that:
1. the distance from hospital buildings which will form the perimeter of the no- smoking area outside a hospital building should be 15 metres;
2. the perimeter should be measured from the outside wall of a building and include all land or area under any canopy or overhang even where those extend beyond 15 metres;
3. the wording and dimensions of no smoking notices should be as described at question three of this consultation;
4. no specific hospital or type of hospital should be exempted from the definition of “hospital” in the Act;
5. no smoking areas will only apply to buildings used wholly or partly as a hospital;
6. public footpaths, cycle paths and footways should be considered hospital grounds for the purposes of establishing no-smoking areas outside the doorways of hospital buildings, and that the size of the grounds would extend up to 15 metres from the centre of doorways;
7. NHS health boards should amend their smoking policies to allow the use of NVPs as an alternative to smoking on hospital grounds but not within the no-smoking area outside hospital buildings.
In addition, we ask you to consider any potentially positive or negative impacts these proposals may have on equalities for people in Scotland.
Consultation responses will be analysed and considered to help inform the final regulations and associated guidance.
This consultation is open from 9 October 2019 to 10 January 2020.
We invite your views to each of the questions and offer an opportunity to comment.