New Alliance Promotes Vaping
A new alliance of health bodies, professionals and politicians have come together to go hard on promoting vaping to smokers in order to achieve a Smoke Free London by 2030. The London Association of Directors of Public Health, Stop Smoking London, The Mayor of London’s office, and the NHS have united under the banner of The London Tobacco Alliance (LTA) and issued a position statement advocating the benefits of vaping as a smoking cessation aid.
Why is this newsworthy?
The formation of the alliance comes at a time when vaping is under increasing levels of scrutiny from Parliament and constant attacks in the media. All of this combines to make smokers very wary of trying to use vaping to quit tobacco – and the misinformation has led to growing numbers wrongly believing that vapes are as or more dangerous than cigarettes.
To have this collection of important bodies and people coming together and promote vaping is very powerful – and will hopefully influence decision makers in the House of Commons who are currently looking at changing vape legislation.
What is the LTA aiming to achieve?
The ultimate aim is to achieve SmokeFree London by 2030 by encouraging current smokers to switch to vaping as a transition step to quitting using nicotine entirely.
Cities and countries are said to be smoke-free when they have reduced tobacco use to less than 5% of the population.
The LTA says: “We can only achieve this through working together, developing, and following effective tobacco control policies, running successful public health campaigns, and delivering evidence- based smoking cessation support and tobacco harm reduction strategies.
“Nicotine vaping as an aid for adult smokers to quit forms part of this approach. This
has been strengthened recently by the government’s announcement of funding to provide adult smokers with vaping kits; the ‘Swap to Stop’ initiative.”
What does the LTA say about vaping?
The alliance states: “Nicotine vaping offers adult smokers an alternative source of nicotine which significantly reduces the harms of smoking. Vaping is the most popular stop smoking aid in use in England.
“There is strong and growing evidence including systematic reviews of clinical trials, and consensus across the UK’s leading health organisations, that vaping is substantially less harmful than tobacco smoking.”
To work towards SmokeFree London by 2030, the LTA calls vaping an evidence-based intervention and says vapes should be promoted to as many smokers as possible: “All adult smokers should have access to, and opportunity to use, nicotine vapes as an aid to give up smoking.”
The LTA adds that ex-smokers or current vapers should not be discouraged from vaping if they are concerned about relapsing back to smoking.
What does the LTA want others to do?
It wants all Local Authorities and health professionals to promote and offer nicotine vaping as an effective smoking cessation aid.
It believes that staff, patients and visitors using hospital sites, mental health services and maternity services should be encouraged to vape as part of a smokefree NHS.
The LTA wants employers, businesses and organisations to put policies in place that encourage employees and customers to switch to vaping.
Finally, the alliance wants to see “improved education and training for health care and smoking cessation professionals”.
This is great news for current smokers as it means they will get access to higher quality advice that relies on evidence and not anecdotes – and for vaping in general as it will inform public conversations.