E-Cigarette Training for Health Practitioners?

Could health practitioners soon be given training on the use and advantages of electronic cigarettes? That’s the idea that stems from a recent report from Cancer Research UK.

One recent study found that vaping is the most likely support method chosen by those who are trying to give up smoking. However, despite its visibility and potential as a source of support for those wishing to quit smoking, it seems we are barely scratching the surface. The Cancer Research UK report pointed out that a survey revealed just 27% of health practitioners are advising patients about vaping as a potential quitting tool. This is despite many people asking their GPs and other healthcare professionals for advice on how to stop smoking.

Are electronic cigarettes only half the equation?

Various studies have highlighted the best and most successful method for quitting smoking is to use electronic cigarettes in conjunction with professional support. As such, it seems strange that just a little over a quarter of healthcare professionals are providing information about vaping as part of that support.

What benefits could be gleaned from proper training?

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) found that around 3.2 million adults used e-cigarettes in Great Britain in 2018. This is a huge rise from just 700,000 people six years previously. Over half of those who vape count themselves as former smokers. Most other vapers are using the devices to help them quit.

However, stories keep arising that claim vaping is just as harmful as smoking – stories that have been proven false. While e-cigs contain nicotine – the addictive substance that makes it so hard to quit smoking – they do not contain any of the other harmful substances found in the average cigarette. Switching to vaping means many more people could avoid potentially fatal illnesses and conditions that can arise from smoking.

Should smokers be able to get advice on vaping from healthcare professionals?

We think so, and we think this suggestion from Cancer Research UK could help push things in that direction. Thousands of vapers are now former smokers, having quit with the help of e-cigarettes. Thousands more could join them if they received ample advice and information concerning vaping from their healthcare team.

What are your thoughts on the report from Cancer Research UK? Do you think vaping should be further highlighted and supported within the NHS? Share your thoughts in the comments below.