Electronic cigarettes could relieve the stress for patients and even staff at hospitals where smoking is banned, a new study says.
Research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal indicates alcoholics admitted to hospital for detoxification preferred electronic cigarettes over nicotine replacement therapy.
Penelope Truman, who led the study at Kenepuru Hospital in Porirua, said one group of patients were given standard nicotine replacement therapy and the other e-cigarettes.
"What I hope will happen is that hospitals and anywhere, where people can't smoke - and it's really difficult for them," Dr Truman said.
"They might think about whether it's appropriate to allow vaping in that situation.
"Because people in those situations are under a lot of stress and I think this could be helpful," she said.
At present, people have to leave hospital grounds to smoke which means staff have to monitor them, Dr Truman said.