E-Cigarettes To Be Regulated For First Time

Legislation restricting the sale of e-cigarettes is expected to be passed by MSPs at Holyrood.

The Scottish Government's Health Bill will ban under-18s from buying the devices and limit their advertising.

The Bill will make it an offence to smoke within a designated no-smoking area around buildings in NHS hospital grounds.

It will create specific criminal offences for health and social care workers who are found to be deliberately mistreating those in their care.

The legislation will also require health and social care organisations to be open when a patient has suffered unintended harm during treatment or care, through a statutory duty of candour.

The Scottish Government introduced an amendment to the Bill creating a duty for the NHS to provide equipment and support to people who lose their voices as a result of health conditions after input from MND (Motor Neurone Disease) Scotland and other organisations.

Public health minister Maureen Watt will meet people with disabilities who have an interest in voice equipment before the final debate in parliament.

Speaking before the Stage 3 debate, Ms Watt said: "The prospect of losing your voice can be extremely worrying and I hope that this legislation will provide some comfort and assurance that equipment and support will be available.

"I would also like to acknowledge the important role of Gordon Aikman, MND Scotland and others in helping to bring about the voice equipment provisions contained in this Bill.''

She added: 2This is a wide-ranging bill. If passed this afternoon it will mean the introduction of regulation of e-cigarettes for the first time.

"While they are almost certainly safer than cigarettes, and have a role to help people quit smoking, we don't want children to take them up, and that's why we are proposing these age restrictions.

"Making it an offence to smoke near hospital buildings is common sense, and it will help NHS boards to enforce their existing smoke-free policies.

"Hospitals are places people go to recover from illness, and they shouldn't have to walk through clouds of smoke.

"This is also a Bill that seeks to improve patient safety and rights.

"Our proposals on duty of candour will ensure that health and social care providers are fully open when a patient has suffered unintentional harm.

"They will improve transparency, raise standards and help us to learn from past mistakes.

"We also hope to create a new criminal offence for wilful neglect.

"Thankfully these cases are very rare, but when they do happen it will give our courts the power to deal with the worst cases of neglect and ill-treatment.''

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