Electronic cigarettes are wildly popular in the UK these days and they are changing the whole approach to smoking cessation for thousands of people. In the past, smokers would turn to support programs like Smoke Matters to get help when they wanted to kick the habit, but now smokers are using ecigs instead. As a result, NHS reports a sharp decline in the number of smokers who ask for assistance to quit. In fact, the Smoke Matters service received only 102 calls this year, far below their usual volume.
Dr. Andrew Carnon, a public health consultant working with smoking cessation services, said that support networks will have to adapt to help smokers in the changing culture. Perhaps ecigs could be a great tool along with the support services to give smokers the best chance at real long-term success.
Carnon believes science is still vague on ecigs and he encourages smokers to be cautious as they choose vaping over smoking. “We actually don’t know at this stage just how effective they are in helping people to stop smoking,” he said. “There is also a risk, potentially at least, that smokers may use them in certain settings where they are not allowed to smoke tobacco but without any intention of actually stopping smoking tobacco cigarettes.”
He also expressed concern that ecigs might lure nonsmokers into eventual nicotine addiction. “The third possibility, which again would not be a great one, is that people who don’t smoke might feel that e-cigarettes are something that are much safer that they would like to try.”
Carnon believes the best method would be to combine vaping with additional support services. “It’s not just about the nicotine replacement, it is not just about use of e-cigarettes,” he explained. “It is actually about working with somebody to help you through the difficult process – because it’s not easy to quit smoking.”
Have you ever reached out to a smoking cessation service for help? Do you think vapers would be more successful in quitting tobacco if they were also enrolled in smoking cessation support program?