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E-cigarettes and smoking to feature in forthcoming Bill – Scotland

Health Bill consultation response

E-cigarettes and smoking to feature in forthcoming Bill

Measures to regulate e-cigarettes and smoking in NHS hospital grounds are to be included in a forthcoming Health Bill.

Responding to a consultation into the proposed legislation, Maureen Watt, Minister for Public Health, set out plans for the Bill, which will be introduced later this year.

Following the consultation, the Scottish Government proposes to ban the sale of non-medicinal e-cigarettes to under 18s, and to also make it an offence for an adult to buy them for a minor. E-cigarette retailers will be required to be registered on a central register, as tobacco retailers in Scotland currently are.

Smoking in the vicinity of hospital buildings will be made a statutory offence as part of the Health Bill. Currently all NHS boards operate a policy banning smoking on their grounds.

The Bill will also contain measures to introduce a statutory duty of candour for health and social care organisations, placing a duty on them to be open when harm has occurred, to provide support to all involved and training for staff involved with organisational responses after an incident.

There will be separate provisions that will create a criminal offence of wilful neglect/ill-treatment, to protect people from what are very rare cases of deliberate neglect or ill-treatment in the health and social care system.

Maureen Watt said:

“E-cigarettes might have a place when it comes to helping current smokers to quit their habit. This government is not opposed to e-cigarettes, but we think it is right to protect children from nicotine addiction, and to limit the prevalence of smoking behaviours. Through this Bill we will seek to strike that balance.

“We have long thought that it is wrong for people to have to walk through clouds of smoke when visiting hospitals. Following our consultation, and to support NHS boards, we believe the time is right to make it a statutory offence to smoke near health buildings.

“The measures on duty of candour will place a duty on organisations to be open and honest when physical or psychological harm has occurred. It will help to put transparency at the heart of our health and social care systems, recognising the impact of these events on staff and placing the emphasis clearly on learning and improvement, not fear and blame.

“The criminal offence of wilful neglect/ill-treatment will only apply in the rare cases where someone has been intentionally neglected or ill-treated by a health or social care professional. It will ensure that mistreatment of anyone receiving care can be effectively dealt with by the criminal justice system.”

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