Updated x 3! A chance discarded.. Or is it?

Anyone here like hospitals? No, me either.

I mean, we all appreciate hospitals, we welcome their lifesaving treatment, we value the caregivers. But they're not exactly places you'd want to hang out...

Today I had to have my eyes looked at, blocked tear duct. Nothing major and I was seen by some lovely people at Gloucester Royal Hospitals eye clinic. I had to put a prescription into the pharmacy and wait, so with the hospital being pretty busy I thought I'd grab a cold drink and go outside.

Huddled just far enough away from the doors, beneath the glare of a "No Smoking anywhere in buildings or grounds" sign were a dozen or so smokers. I moved a little bit further on, had some of my drink and a vape. Before too long the smokers went inside or on their way, butts on the floor as there's no bin.

Apart from one young lady, sat shivering with a drip in her arm, still smoking.

I made a joke about the cold, she said it was better than being bored and we got chatting. Poor girl had been in since the previous night, rushed in with a suspected stroke! Hang on, smoking??

I asked her how much she smoked (40 a day+) and if she'd tried vaping. She said she had (cigalikes) but it hadn't worked & tasted awful. We chatted about how long it had been since I'd smoked, the volunteering I do and even got her to have a go, which she liked.

And then "YOU CAN'T SMOKE HERE" as a finger was angrily wagged at me by someone I presume was a receptionist. I replied, courteously, "It's ok, I'm not smoking, I'm vaping, using an electronic cigarette.......".


"Hang on, that sign says no smoking and I'm NOT smoking"

"I DON'T CARE" turning on her heel "ITS ALL THE SAME" and gave a "whatever" hand wave, going inside.

The poor girl went indoors, a bit embarassed. I was left fuming.

Why? Not because I'd been told off, but because an opportunity to help someone who was unwell was destroyed by a small minded, ill informed hospital employee. A very rude, unhelpful and obnoxious employee at that.

+GlosHospitalsNHS and Gloucester Royal Hospital do not have a "no vaping in the grounds policy", only no smoking: http://www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk/en/Patients-and-Visitors/Coming-into-Hospital

So not only were they rude and ill informed, they were wrong about the hospitals own policy, as well as that of Stop Smoking Gloucestershire who are (allegedly) vaping friendly.

I've tweeted Gloucester Hospitals, +Gloucestershire NHS Stop Smoking Service  and +Richard Graham MP for Gloucester but haven't had a reply yet. I also offered my time to go and explain the +Public Health England  & NCSCT literature & what vaping really was to help staff, not heard anything on that either.

So, GRH et al, what about it? Are you going to let me help you avoid getting it wrong in future? This is becoming quite an important public health issue now and it needs dealing with.

After all, if that poor lady goes on to become ill again due to smoking, whose fault is that now? A chance discarded...


I had a tweet back from @gloshospitals today;
"Sorry to hear this & thank you for sharing your experience - we will raise at the next Stop Smoking Steering Group meeting. We do work hard to discourage smoking on-site & have an action plan to do more soon including changing signage."

Well, colour me surprised! Had another, very positive tweet from +GlosHospitalsNHS  today;

"no plans to ban vaping on signage - must have been a misunderstanding re your experience with staff member"
They've also asked for my details with regards to discussing vaping! 


So today I met with +Gloucestershire NHS Stop Smoking Service and we had a really productive discussion. Lots of things to think about and much to come back on. Not a "nannying" approach but very much a co-operative, evidence-based one. I'll keep you updated.

This is great news and maybe it's time to find out which other Stop Smoking services and NHS healthcare trusts are on-message? Let's get out there, ask them and offer to help.



  1. Shame on them. Keep harassing them!

  2. Such a shame due to being uneducated, John. I hope the girl still tries vaping instead of smoking when she is released. Don't let a small mind but big mouth put you off!

  3. As a regular outpatient at GRH, at least once a month, I have been vaping both inside and on the hospital grounds for the 4 years since I gave up smoking. They had a WRVS man there who was very much a jobsworth when I was a smoker and in-patient and I took delight (I am very rebellious) in vaping right infront of him both inside and outside the hospital. He hasn't ever said a word vocally (but his facial expressions tell a different tale).
    On this Gloucestershire site, they stress they are vaper friendly http://www.stopsmokingglos.nhs.uk/
    just need to tell their staff now.


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