Vaping and Quitting Smoking

The UK leads the world in using electronic cigarettes to help smokers quit, something that is vital for all tobacco users hoping to make this their New Year’s resolution. Oddly, in a bizarre reversal, an Australian GP is reported to have been giving his 14yr-old son cigarettes to ween him off e-cigarettes and his vaping habit. Does this make any sense?

child vapingThe Guardian reported that GP “Jason”, they changed his name “to protect the identities of children”, was very concerned about the activities of his son.

At 12, the child had been arrested for shoplifting vapes from a local store.

The newspaper quoted him as saying: “I’ve tried talking to my son, warning of the health impacts of vaping and nicotine, and I’ve tried shouting and all of that sort of thing to get him to stop. It doesn’t work because nicotine is highly addictive. We tried giving him nicotine gum, but it was a waste of time because the amount of nicotine in gum is so minimal compared to the amount you get from vaping that it did nothing for his cravings.”

Getting off vapes is not easy,” “Jason” is reported as saying, and so he allegedly started giving his son two cigarettes per day.

Immediately the story broke a number of tobacco harm experts and quit specialists questioned whether there was any truth to the story.

The truth about vaping versus smoking

The NHS is currently running a health promotion campaign to encourage smokers to quit their tobacco addiction for the New Year.

It says: “Stopping smoking is one of the best things you will ever do for your health. When you stop, you give your lungs the chance to repair and you will be able to breathe easier. There are lots of other benefits too – and they start almost immediately.

“So make this January your fresh start and join the thousands who are quitting. Check out our advice, tools and tips. It’s never too late to quit. You’ve got this!”

The NHS guides people to its NHS Quit Smoking app to support their journey to becoming tobacco-free.

What is the number one quit smoking method the NHS recommends?

The very first piece of advice is for smokers to use “Vaping to quit smoking” – something that directly contradicts the inexplicable actions of The Guardian’s mystery Australian doctor.

Nicotine vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking. It’s also one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking,” says the NHS.

The newspaper article makes a number of exceptionally misleading and dangerous claims about vaping – one of them being the risks attached to nicotine use.

The American Council on Science and Health described the doctor’s actions: “Everything is backwards. First things first, e-cigarettes should be viewed as smoking-cessation tools. This perspective is widespread among ex-smokers. However, even researchers [quoted in the article] who are critical of vaping recognise that flavoured nicotine used in these devices appeals to adult smokers who want to quit. Moreover, a large body of evidence—summarised by the highly respected Cochrane Collaboration in November—provides ‘high‐certainty evidence’ that vaping is more effective than standard nicotine replacement therapy (gums, patches, etc.) for smoking cessation.”

So, if you are planning on quitting smoking this January by switching to vaping then you can be confident the science and the NHS are supporting you all the way!

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