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Free E-Cigarettes for Manchester Smokers

It is not unusual to hear of people finally quitting smoking by switching to vaping products instead. However, while England is leading the way in providing support to those who wish to quit smoking, a new trial in Manchester looks set to garner big headlines.

Trafford Council is supporting a scheme whereby smokers in the Trafford region of Manchester can get their hands on a free vaping starter kit. Six local chemists are involved in the scheme, and those who are interested can visit one of the chemists to sign up for their free kit.

Public Health England already supports the use of electronic cigarettes to help people stop smoking. The scheme will see the kits given out along with advice from an advisor on how to stop smoking. E-cigs have already been confirmed as the most popular product chosen by smokers to help them quit. We suspect many other councils up and down the country will be watching the results of this trial very closely. Should it meet with success, we have every confidence we will start seeing similar trials popping up in other parts of the country.

The scheme clearly aims to make vaping more visible. Electronic cigarettes are already the most popular aid chosen by those who want to give up smoking. However, rates are still low, with PHE figures stating that just 4.1% of people trying to stop smoking using vaping tools to assist in their efforts.

By giving away free advice along with the free vaping kit, it is easy to see how that percentage could soon begin to rise. Could this be the first step towards seeing further drops in the percentage of smokers in England? Let us know what you think about this scheme in the comments below.

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Supermarket Criticised for Displaying Vaping Products

In recent years, vape shops have popped up on many high streets around the UK. As more people switch from smoking to vaping with the aim of improving their health, it’s no great surprise to discover other shops getting in on the action too. No doubt you have spotted vaping supplies appearing in your local supermarket, for example.

However, while easier access to these vaping kits and electronic cigarettes is to be commended, there are no clear guidelines on how such items should be displayed. Some stores have chosen to display their vaping products next to the cigarettes. This makes sense as someone going to buy a tobacco product might consider switching if they see e-cigs on offer as well. Other stores have chosen to display vaping supplies next to the nicotine gum and patches that are commonly on offer.

One MP disagrees with the latter option

If you are thinking of quitting smoking and you’re looking for some support, you might well consider nicotine replacement therapy. So, imagine you wander into your local supermarket (possibly Sainsburys, as that is the store that displayed the vaping items with the patches and gum), and you look at that display. Do you think it would be a huge issue if you spotted the vaping display?

We don’t think it would be an issue, but MP Bob Blackman, who chairs the Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, does. He doesn’t believe vaping supplies should ever be on “open shelves” (his words). He also said, “There may well be dangerous chemicals in the e-liquid.”

A danger to youngsters?

Another reason for Mr Blackman’s reaction seems to be that young kids and teenagers will easily be able to see the vaping supplies when displayed on shelves as Sainsbury’s decided to do. However, we know there is very little evidence that any young people are encouraged to start vaping unless they’re switching from smoking to start with.

Furthermore, research has indicated more than once that vaping is far safer than smoking. If we lock the vaping supplies away, we are merely making it easier for smokers to continue with this dangerous habit. We know smoking is harmful to health. One in four people who find themselves in hospital are smokers. Surely Sainsbury’s should be congratulated rather than vilified?

Do you agree with Mr Blackman or do you believe supermarkets are right to make it easy for people to view vaping supplies? Let us know your thoughts below.

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Ireland to Follow in the UK’s Footsteps

Ireland has set a target of reducing the rate of smoking in the country to under 5%. An admirable target, to be sure, but one that could be a challenge to meet by 2025, thanks to the current rate sitting at 17% of the population.

Meanwhile, the UK has enjoyed a huge reduction in smoking in the last few years. Dropping from 19% in 2012 to less than 15% today, Ireland is now considering following in the UK’s footsteps and endorsing the use of electronic cigarettes as a potential smoking cessation tool.

There is far greater positivity surrounding e-cigarettes in the UK than in Ireland. Public Health England has come out in support of vaping to help people quit. It has been shown as one of the best methods for quitting smoking. The Health Service Executive in Ireland is yet to stand up and publicly endorse vaping as PHE has done. Yet it could make a profound difference if more support is provided.

Both the UK and Ireland are working towards becoming smoke free. However, while this is hoped to be achieved by 2030 in the UK, Ireland won’t be able to achieve it for another 22 years after that date.

While it is early days, there are signs that Ireland may be starting to consider the potential benefits of vaping to support those who want to give up smoking. If Ireland does follow the UK in becoming more vocal about vaping benefits, we could yet see a stark drop in the number of Irish smokers who have yet to quit.

What do you think about the potential for a sea change in Ireland? Could vaping see the number of smokers in the country finally begin to drop by a larger amount? Let us know your thoughts below.

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Public Health England Release New Pro-Vaping Film

Vaping has already been proven to be far safer to health than smoking. However, many people are still unsure about how safe electronic cigarettes are, and whether they represent a better option. Fortunately, Public Health England (PHE) are taking a positive attitude to getting the message out about the dangers of smoking, and why it is better to switch to vaping to help quit the habit.

This approach has been seen again this month as PHE has released a film that reveals how harmful smoking is. It conducted an experiment using three jars, each filled with cotton wool balls to represent the lungs. A pump was connected to each jar. The first one drew in normal air, the second drew in air associated with e-cigarette vapour, and the third jar drew in air filled with cigarette smoke.

What were the results?

Predictably, and somewhat alarmingly, the cotton wool balls subjected to cigarette smoke had turned brown, with tar clogging up the tube connecting the jar to the pump. The experiment lasted for one month. Obviously, the one exposed to regular air was unchanged. But most notably, the jar that received vapour from electronic cigarettes was almost no different from when the experiment had begun.

PHE is using this experiment to encourage more smokers to quit for the New Year by switching to vaping. It is already known that many smokers find vaping the easiest and most supportive method for quitting. However, some think vaping is just as harmful as smoking and either do not quit or find some other way to help stop smoking.

The idea behind the campaign and the film was to highlight how much safer vaping is when compared to the carcinogens, tar, and other nasties in cigarettes. By seeing the difference between the two, as is now possible thanks to this campaign, it is hoped many more smokers will quit in 2019.

2018 saw a drop of one million in official figures of smokers in England. The fall in smokers has led the percentage to fall below 15% – the first time this has happened. Will this new film encourage yet more smokers to switch to vaping to improve their health? Let’s hope so.

Were you aware vaping is safer than smoking? Has the film helped you make the switch? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

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Vaping Health Claims No Longer Banned

When you look at the attitudes to vaping around the world, it doesn’t take long to realise the UK has one of the most positive and forward-thinking attitudes to the habit. Smoking is bad for health in lots of ways. However, while plenty of other countries around the world think the same applies to vaping too, that’s not the case here.

There have been restrictions though. While the UK is still under EU rule, regulations put forward by the EU must be adhered to. Furthermore, in the past, it was impossible to make claims relating to health when advertising electronic cigarettes and associated products.

Two words are taken out of the advertising regulations on vaping

Yep – just two words. Previously, marketing communications could not “contain health or medicinal claims unless the product is authorised for those purposes by the MHRA.” The change to the rules has led to the removal of the words “health or” from the paragraph.

That means claims relating to health can now be made… to a point.

Good news for the vaping industry?

Yes… but the wording still means there are strict limitations on how vaping products can be promoted. For example, the only claims that could be made would be in a broad sense, rather than being specific to one product. If a manufacturer is going to promote a product with a claim attached, it must be able to prove that claim with suitable data and evidence. If it cannot, the wording would need to be changed.

So, while the change is a small one that could potentially have huge consequences for the industry, it still presents those wishing to promote the health benefits of their products with a minefield to pick their way through.

Could health claims mean more people switch to vaping as a safer option?

It’s clear there are still hoops to jump through if anyone wishes to make health claims connected to one or more vaping products. However, this change is a step in the right direction. We can only hope it leads to a clearer picture of how much safer vaping is when compared to smoking. One survey found nearly half of those questioned thought vaping was just as bad as smoking. Clearly, there is still some work to be done here. Will this change to the rules surrounding advertising turn the tide in a more positive direction?

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E-Cigarette Regulations to Be Reviewed Post Brexit

Few people can be unaware of the importance of 29th March this year. This is the date the UK is set to leave the European Union, timed at 11pm that night. While uncertainty over this event still reigns (the Government is about to vote on the Brexit deal even as we write this), the Government has confirmed it intends to review regulations surrounding electronic cigarettes once we have left the EU.

As many will know, the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) was extended to include electronic cigarettes and refills from May 2016. The following year, further limitations were brought into play. Many believe the rules are ineffective and could damage the vaping industry. Vaping has been proven to be far safer than smoking yet is often included under the same banner. Limitations on vaping products, as brought in under the new TPD rules, have led to a stark drop in the number of smokers using vaping tools to help them quit.

One of the main reasons why smokers are now less likely to switch to vaping is that e-liquids with nicotine in them cannot now be marketed at above 20mg/ml. This means those who want to quit will need to drop their intake of nicotine markedly right from the start – therefore making it harder to succeed at quitting.

While there is no clear sign on how the Government would proceed or make changes as yet (we assume they have greater worries on their minds), it is a welcome confirmation that the cumbersome and unnecessary TPD rules will be looked at.

Do you think the Tobacco Products Directive is harming the vaping industry? Have you found it harder to quit owing to the reduction in nicotine levels in e-liquids? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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FDA to Impose Restrictions on Vaping Flavours

Vapers have a much easier time of it in the UK when compared to fellow vapers in the US. Despite the huge amount of research and data pointing to the health benefits of switching from smoking to vaping, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now implemented another ban on vaping supplies.

The latest move has meant electronic cigarettes and vaping liquids flavoured to taste like fruit or candy cannot be sold. The ban applies to gas stations and convenience stores – two likely places where teens may go to buy these products. This is the aim of the ban – to prevent teens from using them. The only vape products that can continue to be sold in these outlets are those based on menthol, mint, and regular tobacco flavours.

“A dangerous trend”

According to data gleaned from federal sources, vaping has shot up over the last 12 months. The number of teens now vaping is over 75% higher than it was last year. The FDA is also looking to make it much harder for teens to buy e-cig supplies online. Age verification is a step that is going to happen, although it remains to be seen how it will come to fruition.

Are these vape flavours harmful or helpful?

It looks as if fruity flavours and candy flavours will still be available from other sources. There is no doubt those flavours do have their fans. Vaping has been shown to provide an easier way to quit smoking, and it is continually proven to be safer than smoking. However, some believe the fruity flavours may potentially lure young people who have never smoked into vaping. From there, some say, they may make the step to smoking.

While this is uncertain, there has been an explosion in vaping among teens. It is this explosion lawmakers are concerned about. Some studies have shown there is very little chance of vapers switching to smoking. Indeed, most people only vape to help them quit smoking, rather than deciding to simply take it up for no good reason. However, the new ban is now in force and it remains to be seen whether it has the desired effect.

What is your opinion on this new move by the FDA? Does it impact you directly? Do you buy your supplies elsewhere? Has it changed the way you vape – whether you are a teen or an adult? Let us know your thoughts.

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Vape Shops Rated Healthy by Royal Society

Would you say shops selling vaping supplies are good or bad for health? The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has come down firmly on the positive side of things, following a report into how healthy shops were in the UK. They produced the report by assessing the various types of shops throughout the country. They also gave each shop type a Richter Scale Score, determining how good or bad it was for health.

The score for each type of outlet was a plus or minus number. So, leisure centres factored with a +7 score as the healthiest outlets. Meanwhile, high-cost credit outlets ranked at a -4 score as the unhealthiest outlets.

Where did vape shops come in the scoring?

Leisure centres and health services came top of the list, with pharmacies, health clubs, libraries, and museums coming next. Then it was the turn of vape shops, which were given a score of +3 on the list – well above many other types of shop. Indeed, they came top of all the shops that sold goods rather than services.

The report pointed out that the number of vapers in the UK has soared over the past few years. In 2012, there were only around 700,000 vapers – a figure that has now soared to 3 million this year.

It is no surprise then to learn that vape shops have doubled in numbers in the past three years alone, rising from 1,000 outlets to 2,000. The report was keen to point out that no one can be certain of the likely long-term effects of vaping. However, it has been found to be far safer than smoking, owing to the absence of many of the harmful substances found in the average cigarette.

An encouraging report

Given the RSPH report highlights many harmful shops on our high streets (fast food outlets among them), it is encouraging to find out how they rated vape shops. Many people have managed to quit smoking since the vaping alternative was made available. Having high street vape shops available in many locations has made it more accessible for more people to give it a try.

With around 19% of adults smoking, the accessibility offered by these shops has a strong effect on public health. Are you pleased at the outcome of the report? Do you think vape shops are a positive in our high streets today?

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