I'll Switch to Vaping Or Stop Altogether

There has been so much publicity about smoking, and its impact on health, that everyone understands it’s not good for you.  However, stopping isn’t easy.  Even if you think you want to stop, there are plenty of problems to overcome.  So, is it easier to just stop, or to try vaping (e-cigarettes) as a first step?

See the considerations below and then decide what’s the best approach for you.

Switch to vaping

Public Health England says that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

There are three main types of e-cigarettes, known as vape pens, cig-a-likes and Advance Personal Vaporisers (mods).

These aren’t completely risk-free, as they deliver nicotine, and they are addictive, but it was found they present a fraction of the risk of smoking cigarettes.  The NHS Digital  report on Statistics on Smoking 2018 shows how  harmful people think vaping is compared to smoking, by smoking type.

Recently there have been vaping related deaths in the US and Canada, which we show in our blog 

how harmful is vaping

It’s interesting how many young people vape…

how many young people vape

Main reason given for using e-cigarettes

This report showed that the most common reason e-cigarette users gave for use was to help quitting smoking (48%). The next most common reason was that they are thought to be less harmful than cigarettes (30%).

Give up altogether

There are several ways of stopping smoking altogether. 

Public Health England published a paper on Health matters: stopping smoking – what works? which   focuses on the range of smoking quitting routes that are available and the evidence for their effectiveness. Two-thirds of smokers say they want to quit, however most try to do so unaided, which is the least effective method. Smokers who get the right support are up to four times as likely to quit successfully.  See link below.

Cancer Research UK say the best way for smokers to reduce their risk of cancer and improve their overall health, is to stop smoking completely.  They also say that you’re most likely to kick the habit by using prescription medication and support at your free, local Stop Smoking Service.

NHS Smokefree is a service aimed at helping you stop smoking – they offer a Personal Quit Plan which after three questions gives you a plan comprising a combination of prescription medicines, support from pharmacists, doctors or advisers at Stop Smoking Service, an app to give support and show you how much you’re saving, email / Facebook Messenger support (or vaping!).

Hold My Light offer a supported plan, using 4 key steps:

  1. Decide to go smoke free (initially) for 30 days
  2. Choose your best way to give up cigarettes
  3. Start – create a profile and invite friends to help you stay motivated
  4. Stay on track, by sharing your journey

Another good reason to quit altogether relates to the risks associated with vaping.  Full tests will take years, but a recent study as reported by the British Medical Journal exposing mice to e-cigarette solutions daily for 4 months, and human cells also via a robot.

This triggered effects normally associated  with the development of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

This has been summarised from the original Open Access article -see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ 

There is a possible issue with using e-cigarettes...

Among all age groups, e-cigarettes are most commonly used by those who also use other tobacco products, such as combustible cigarettes. This pattern is commonly referred to as “dual use” or “poly tobacco use.”

Among adult users, dual use is a troubling pattern because it suggests that some e-cigarette use may be supplementing smoking instead of replacing it. Because there is no safe level of smoking, there are concerns that this behaviour represses efforts to completely quit smoking (i.e., people choose to “cut down” instead of quitting smoking entirely). This issue is somewhat complicated because some individuals who use e-cigarettes to quit may experience a period of dual use as they change products.

Among youth, the data are more difficult to interpret. Dual use may indicate that kids who use other nicotine products are also more likely to use e-cigarettes due to shared character traits — like sensation seeking and openness to risk (the “shared liability” theory) — and/or the fact that initial e-cigarette use is a cause of subsequent use of other nicotine products (the “gateway” theory). A 2018 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine addressed this issue and concluded that there is “substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes among youth and young adults,” suggesting that e-cigarette use itself is a risk factor, not just a correlation with smoking.
• Among adults in 2015, 58.8 percent of e-cigarette users also smoked cigarettes.
• Among young adults in 2015, 40 percent of e-cigarette users also smoked cigarettes.
• In 2013 and 2014, just 6.1 percent of young adults and 1.6 percent of adults exclusively used e-cigarettes.
• In 2015, 65.2 percent of youth who had used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days also reported using another tobacco product in the same time frame.
• In 2015, 5.9 percent of high school students were exclusive e-cigarette users, while 25.3 percent currently used any tobacco product.

YouDrive thinks....

It’s very clear that smoking is bad for your health, but it’s a difficult habit to give up.  The first step is to decide you want to do it – before something goes seriously wrong!  Then you need to decide what’s the best way for you. 

OneYou, a Public Health England (PHE) initiative, has a simple personal plan which suggests the best steps for you, which you can access here.

We have some practical tips to help you stop smoking
• Make a date to give up – and stick to it! Throw away all your tobacco, lighters and ashtrays.
• Make a plan. Think about what could help you stop smoking, such as using a nicotine-replacement product, and have it ready before the date you plan to stop.
• Think smart and download the Clearing The Air booklet
• Get support and let your family and friends know that you’re quitting. Some people find that talking to friends and relatives who have stopped can be helpful. You can also talk to your doctor, practice nurse, pharmacist, or one of the organisations listed above about what support is available to you.
• Keep busy to help take your mind off cigarettes. Try to change your routine, and avoid the shop where you normally buy cigarettes.
• Treat yourself. If you can, use the money you’re saving by not smoking to buy yourself something special.

People who looked at SmokeDrive also looked at HabitDrive and DrinkDrive.

You’ve seen more detail on the different points of view, and also what YouDrive’s view is.  You can go back to SmokeDrive by clicking the button here.

More information

Public Health England showed what works in terms of stopping smoking

NHS Smokefree is aimed at helping you quit smoking

Cancer Research UL have a section on stopping smoking

Hold My Light offer a four step plan to give up, with support and an app

The British Lung Foundation have a section on stopping smoking, but also have a lot of other information about how we can keep our lungs healthy

Download the Clearing The Air booklet from the National Cancer Institute

Download the NHS Digital Statistics on Smoking: England 2018 report

Download the NHS Digital Statistics on Smoking: England 2018 report appendices

Download the NHS Digital Statistics on Smoking: England 2018 report tables

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