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UK Government Keen to Keep Promoting Vaping

Every year, a group of people aims to quit smoking for Stoptober. Not all succeed, but many see this event as the first important step towards quitting. The 2017 campaign was interesting because it was the first time it supported the use of electronic cigarettes as a useful tool for helping people quit.

Following the success of the 2017 campaign, the government is now being urged to promote the switch from smoking to vaping throughout the year, rather than just for Stoptober. Mark Pawsey MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), said the campaign supporting vaping by Public Health England was “a welcome change”. Yet he also pointed out it “needs to be sustained, not just a one off.”

House of Commons debate

The APPG’s vice-chair, Gareth Johnson, led a debate in the House of Commons on 1st November that highlighted this very subject. Since the advertising campaign by PHE was deemed to be a great success, some MPs and Peers in the House of Lords have suggested the government should support ongoing measures to promote vaping. Now Stoptober has ended, there has been lots of evidence to suggest more people have bought vaping starter kits, and invested in supplies to help them switch from smoking to vaping.

A quick visit to the Stoptober site (part of the official NHS website) also shows how much space was given to e-cigarettes as a “great way to combat nicotine cravings”. There was a link to a dedicated page about e-cigarettes, while another link led to information about ‘stop smoking medicines’. These included patches, gum, and other nicotine replacement therapies.

The site does point out that vaping is not completely without risk, because of the presence of nicotine. However, the absence of tobacco, tar, and carbon monoxide certainly makes it healthier than smoking – the very message PHE was trying to get across. The Stoptober website also stated e-cigarettes combined with support from local services lead to “some of the highest quitting success rates”. More reason than ever to try vaping – and a reassuring message of support in the UK, in stark contrast to the approach taken by some other countries and locales.

“A continuous programme”

The APPG released a statement that called for an ongoing programme to continue promoting the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping. There is ample evidence to suggest vaping shops and suppliers enjoyed a healthy boost in business during Stoptober. This in turn suggests many smokers were trying e-cigs for the first time.

The aim is to ensure the public is also made more aware of the relative safety of vaping as opposed to smoking. Vaping has been confirmed as being some 99% safer than smoking, yet a recent survey indicated only 20% of people knew this. Two years previously, that figure stood at 31%. In 2013, just 7% of people thought vaping products were as bad as or worse than smoking. Fast-forward four years and the figure has shot up to 26%.

If the government does commit to a year-round plan to ensure vaping is accurately promoted as a real alternative to smoking, more people might quit smoking than is currently the case. With around 7.6 million UK residents still smoking, the potential health benefits of such a promotion cannot be denied.

Did you take part in Stoptober this year? If so, did you do so by switching to vaping? Have you managed to quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes, or did you do it another way? Have you kept up with vaping since? Let us know your feelings and experiences by commenting below.

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Bolton Stop Smoking Service to be Scaled Down

If you live in Bolton and you are thinking of using their Stop Smoking Service this month, think again. News reports indicate the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust is scaling back its support services in this area. From now on, the only people who will qualify to use the Bolton Stop Smoking service are pregnant women who wish to stop smoking to protect the health of themselves and their unborn babies.

Bolton Council said the removal of funds to support the service stems from the need to save £785,000 in the public health sector between this year and 2019. Unfortunately, the Stop Smoking Service has borne the brunt of these cuts. Thousands of local people are thought to have benefitted from the service up until now.

While savings of £46,000 will be made from this change, chief officer Jackie Bene is adamant patients will notice no changes. She is keen for the support services to be provided in a different way, so anyone wanting to give up smoking can still do so with support.

The UK is in an unusual position regarding vaping products. While many countries have either banned them completely or demonised them, the opposite is true here. Some of the smoking cessation services recommend vaping as the ideal alternative, with some giving away free e-cigs to help those who wish to quit smoking.

So, how will the removal of the smoking cessation support service in Bolton for all but pregnant women affect the smoking rate in the area? It is hard not to imagine saving money in the short term could potentially lead to bigger health costs in the future, if more people are afflicted by smoking-related diseases.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you live in Bolton? Are you affected by the changes? Let us know in the comments below.

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Nicotine as Therapy for Late-Life Depression?

While some people suffer from depression throughout their lives, some are not affected by it until they are over the age of about 60. In this case, the condition is referred to as late-life depression, or LLD. Now, a new study has been undertaken by a team at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. This has revealed nicotine could be recommended to help enhance the mood of some of those affected by this form of depression. While antidepressants are often prescribed to such individuals, they do not work in all cases. So, could nicotine be the next best thing?

It is hardly news to learn that nicotine can enhance cognitive performance. This has been well-known for a long time. but the authors of the new study suggest that certain “nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonists” could be beneficial to those who do not respond to the usual medication. Nicotine could be included in this group.

The suggestion is those who do not benefit from typical antidepressants could take part in clinical trials in the future. These trials would deliver nicotine via a patch, in much the same way nicotine patches are used to help people quit smoking. It is not yet known whether the patches would work in the desired manner, but previous research has shown some indication of improved cognitive performance. ADHD patients have performed better with the aid of nicotine patches than those without, as one of the authors has already shown in a previous study.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think nicotine patches could be the answer to helping those with late-life depression to manage their condition? While nicotine is often seen as something bad, it could be it has the potential to help some people with specific medical conditions such as LLD.

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Stoptober Embraces E Cigs for the First Time

Stoptober is here again, and if you’re familiar with the month-long event, you may have noticed something different about it this time. While Stoptober has been going since 2012, this is the first year in which e-cigarettes have been recommended to help smokers quit.

The annual event began on 1st October and will run for a four-week period. Research has indicated that someone who manages to quit for 28 days is five times more likely to quit permanently. That’s according to Public Health England, who have spoken out in favour of electronic cigarettes before in their drive to get more people to quit smoking.

Last year, around 53% of those who took part in the Stoptober event did so by using vaping devices to help them stop. It also led to an increase in the number of people who took up the challenge to stop smoking for 28 days, with more than 1.5 million doing so.

Further research also reveals more people have successfully quit smoking than ever before. Around 20% of attempts to quit met with success in the first half of this year. This compared with an average figure of 16% that was seen through the previous decade.

The number of smokers in the UK is dropping, and the introduction of vaping and Stoptober can only support that. Back in 2000, 26.8% of adults in England aged 18 and over smoked. Fast-forward to 2016, and that percentage had dropped to 15.5%. We doubt all of that is down to vaping and e-cigs, but it must surely be a contributory factor.

Other research has also revealed people who vape are more likely to keep on trying to quit smoking than those who use methods other than vaping. E-cigs also seem to ensure the smoker has a greater chance of success in their efforts, whether they try one or more times.

Many vapers will be glad to see support for electronic cigarettes as part of Stoptober. With some sources still trying to demonise vaping, it is reassuring to see support for it from some important quarters.

Are you taking part in Stoptober this year? Have you switched to vaping to help you quit smoking? Are you glad to see electronic cigarettes being recommended to those who are taking part? Let us know what you think below, and good luck in quitting smoking too!

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London Firefighters Promote Vaping for Stoptober

The London Fire Brigade has thrown its support behind Public Health England, which recommends using e-cigs to help quit smoking. PHE is also behind Stoptober, the annual event that encourages people to give up smoking for a month, in the hope they will quit for good. London firefighters are now supporting the use of vaping as a safer replacement for smoking – and for more than one reason.

According to their statistics, more than 3,580 fires have occurred over the last three years that were directly caused by cigarettes. And that is just in the London area. In stark contrast, the same period saw just 15 fires caused by electronic cigarettes. Furthermore, no deaths have occurred due to those fires.

They also confirmed that 9% of fires started by accident were caused by a cigarette. However, over half the deaths caused by fire in the home can be attributed to smoking. Those are shocking figures, and ones that show only too well how dangerous smoking can be to your health – and not just because of the nicotine and tobacco involved.

It should be no surprise then to realise the fire brigade is also supporting the safe use of electronic cigarettes. They’re officially backing Stoptober and the support PHE is giving to those who are switching to vaping to help them quit tobacco for good.

The London Fire Brigade did take the opportunity to pass along some common-sense tips for staying even safer when vaping. You should only charge your vaping device when you are home to monitor it, and only with the charger designed to be used with it.

Are you taking part in Stoptober with the help of e-cigs? Let us know your thoughts on the points above, and those stark statistics relating to fires, too.

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England Takes Centre Stage in Promoting Vaping to Smokers

Many vapers in England may already feel they are supported in switching from smoking to vaping. However, they may not realise the country is a world leader in this respect.

The government has released a policy paper titled “Towards a smoke-free generation: tobacco control plan for England”. It contains plans on reducing the instance of smoking in England (not the whole UK) and has the massive aim of eventually creating a generation of people who don’t smoke at all.

This is a massive contrast to the stance taken by other countries around the world. Indeed, not only does England have far more relaxed rules when compared to other countries, it is the only one in the world at present to make vaping an official recommendation to help smokers quit the habit.

The pioneering stance taken by the country has not yet led to other countries following suit, though. Public Health England was leading the charge two years ago, when it released an expert review of evidence that pointed to vaping being around 95% safer than smoking. The report made a clear distinction between vaping and smoking, and since then, recommendations have been issued that progress along the same lines.

In stark contrast, vapers in America have been hit by regulation after regulation. The powers that be view vaping as being just as dangerous as smoking, despite all evidence to the contrary. They do not look at electronic cigarettes as a safer alternative, or a product that poses a reduced risk when compared to smoking.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you glad you live in England, or do you live somewhere where vaping is unfairly demonised as being the same as cigarette smoking? Let us know your thoughts on the matter.

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A Win for Vapers – FDA Delays Vaping Regulations

Americans who vape will no doubt have heard of the Premarket Tobacco Applications (PMTA) scenario. This was originally intended to come into play in 2018, but a press release from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the regulations will not now be brought in until 2022.

The PMTA has been developed as part of a larger plan to reduce smoking in the US. The plan includes the use of electronic cigarettes, since they also contain nicotine. However, while vapers have been breathing a sigh of relief at the delay being announced, they have also spotted the FDA is highlighting vaping as a different method of nicotine delivery to smoking.

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb has said the delivery method for nicotine is “the bigger problem”. He spoke of cigarettes as a “deadly” mechanism for getting a nicotine hit. The original FDA guidelines announced a date of 2018 for applications to be received for vaping products to be examined. Now the date has been pushed back by four years, it takes the pressure off the vaping industry.

There was a real fear the local regulations surrounding vaping, coupled with the new requirements that would have come in next year, might have killed the vaping industry in America altogether. However, the deadline has now been extended, and there are also signs the FDA wants to take a new approach to combating the number of tobacco-related deaths occurring in the US each year. At present, that number stands at around 480,000 deaths annually.

The FDA is considering reducing the level of nicotine in regular cigarettes – a proposal that has come as a real shock to the tobacco industry. There is a limit to what the FDA can do. For example, it can’t ban cigarettes completely, and it cannot ban the inclusion of nicotine. But by reducing the levels in cigarettes, it is suggested many people would not become addicted to them. Thus, there could be stricter rules on regular combustible cigarettes as opposed to e-cigs.

Will there be greater clarity on vaping? It is too early to say. Vaping has been targeted in America as a danger to public health, rather than a safer alternative to smoking for those who want to give up. It is also true that vaping is more successful for those who want to quit smoking than using nicotine patches or chewing gum. This is partly because the action of holding and using a vaping device is much the same as smoking. This is a crucial element that seems to be misunderstood by some who do not smoke.

While the PMTA has not been completely eradicated, the deadline extension of four years gives more time for a more positive approach to be taken. And that distinction between vaping and smoking may just be the most important element of all. We will be watching closely to see what happens next, and whether vapers could be about to turn the corner to a more positive future.

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New Study Claims Vaping Has a Fraction of the Risk Associated with Tobacco Cancer

A new study has produced yet more good news for anyone who has ditched smoking and switched to vaping – particularly if they’ve done so for health reasons. The study discovered that normal vaping posed less than 1% of the risk of developing cancer, when compared to smoking. ‘Normal vaping’ refers to the use of electronic cigarettes at normal power levels.

The study was conducted by Dr William Stephens at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. The results were published in the Tobacco Control journal. Dr Stephens analysed the emissions that typically came from a cigarette and compared them with those coming from an e-cigarette. The research concluded that the risk of developing cancer through vaping is almost as low as it would be for those who quit smoking with the aid of nicotine replacement therapies. This includes nicotine dispensed via gum and via patches.

The evidence mounts up

We have already seen plenty of evidence that points to vaping as a far safer alternative to smoking. The study did point out that anyone who vapes at a very high power will be exposed to a greater risk factor, but this is not new to the community. This has already been proven, since aldehydes are then produced at much higher levels.

As such, the study does not tell us anything we did not already know or suspect. It merely provides yet more proof that vaping is much better for you than smoking. Some would say it is better not to do either, but if you have been trying and failing to quit smoking and you successfully switch to vaping, your cancer risk drops by 99%. That is an amazing amount, and will no doubt make vapers feel more confident about their choice.

Will the anti-vaping groups pay attention?

This is probably the biggest question. And it is likely one we already know the answer to. Many countries have banned vaping in public places, and that is not about to change anytime soon. The UK is more welcoming to vapers than some countries we could mention, and it is more commonly suggested as an aid to helping people quit smoking.

But since some are already dismissing the research completed at the University of St Andrews, it seems likely we still have an uphill battle to fight to promote vaping as a better alternative to smoking. You cannot get much better than a cancer risk reduction of 99%, as evidenced in this study. Yet those who want to ban vaping and make it harder for people to get hold of supplies will no doubt continue to fight their corner on this.

What is your reaction to this study? Are you pleased to see how much safer electronic cigarettes are compared with tobacco products? Let us know your thoughts below, and tell us why you switched to vaping. Was it because you were hoping to improve your health and reduce the risk of illness, as this study indicates is possible?

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