Simply put, “In recent years, e-cigarettes have become a very popular stop smoking aid in the UK. Also known as vapes or e-cigs, they're far less harmful than cigarettes and can help you quit smoking for good.”
It doesn’t get more definitive than that – and a number of countries around the world could benefit their citizens by following the NHS’ lead.
“E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco and do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most damaging elements in tobacco smoke. They work by heating a liquid that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings.”
While newspapers fixate on scare stories regarding ‘chemicals’, ignoring that the volumes concerned are always far less than that found in cigarette smoke, the NHS accepts that vaping is considerably safer than smoking while delivering the nicotine hit smokers use tobacco for.
The NHS offers advice to smokers looking to switch: “A rechargeable e-cigarette with a refillable tank delivers nicotine more effectively and quickly than a disposable model and is likely to give you a better chance of quitting smoking.
- If you're a lighter smoker, you could try a cigalike, vape pen or pod system.
- If you're a heavier smoker, it's advisable to try a vape pen, pod system or mod.
- It's also important to choose the right strength of e-liquid to satisfy your needs.
A specialist vape shop can help find the right device and liquid for you. You can get advice from a specialist vape shop or your local stop smoking service.”
Will switching help smokers to quit? Many opponents of vaping say ‘no’ and raise false concerns about vaping leading people into smoking.
The NHS says: “Many thousands of people in the UK have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette. There's growing evidence that they can be effective. Using an e-cigarette can help you manage your nicotine cravings. To get the best out of it, make sure you're using it as much as you need to and with the right strength of nicotine in your e-liquid.
“A major UK clinical trial published in 2019 found that, when combined with expert face-to-face support, people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking were twice as likely to succeed as people who used other nicotine replacement products, such as patches or gum. You will not get the full benefit from vaping unless you stop smoking cigarettes completely.”