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Latest Briefing from National Centre for Smoking Cessation And Training

February 24, 2016 News

Latest Briefing from National Centre for Smoking Cessation And Training


I had a quick skim through this to start with, and then read with in more detail with joy and a tinge of sadness. Joy because this is what we all know to be true of vaping; no self-aggrandising or grandstanding, just good honest research backed truth. Sadness because we’ve known this to be true all along, and I wonder what type of regulation we’d be subject to had this come out a year or two earlier.

But no, the last few years we’ve been subject to certain self-acclaimed health types that kept on with the puritanical rhetoric that vaping sort of looks like smoking so is dangerous and to be avoided, and that every vaper is a dirty nicotine addict. (spolier alert: it’s not and we aren’t).

Their message helped set policy as the EU ignored it’s populace and the health gains vaping was promoting and even as research mounted showing that they were wrong,  still they persisted. In 2015 the tide began to change, mounds of research was studied and Public Health England released their report with the headline that vaping was at least 95% safer than smoking. The self-acclaimed were livid.

They attacked PHE in anonymous articles and with outright lies, so I wonder how they felt yesterday, when the National Centre for Smoking Cessation And Training released new guidance to UK Stop Smoking Services.

The document is here, and I suspect it’s set their heads spinning. It’s titled ‘Electronic cigarettes: A briefing for stop smoking services’ and will shape how vaping is discussed and promoted by UK Stop Smoking Services.

There are quote’s aplenty, and they’re absolute gold. Every batshit stupid comment you’ve ever heard from the anti-vaping brigade has been struck down and nailed to the ground as the bigoted rubbish we knew it to be.

Here are some of my favourites…

We begin by acknowledging that e-cigarettes are considerably safer than smoking cigarettes, are popular with smokers and that they have a role to play in reducing smoking rates.

What an opener. Safer, and could help reduce smoking.

Nicotine does not cause smoking related disease, such as cancers and heart disease. These are caused by other chemicals found in tobacco smoke. […] Nicotine in e-cigarettes poses little danger to adult users. […] to prevent accidental poisoning of children, e-cigarettes and liquids should be stored away safely (just as you would with household cleaning products and medicines, including NRT products)

Ah, so it turns out that eliquid isn’t all that dangerous, and adults that are able to have bleach and other deadly chemicals at home can be trusted to know how to store it safely.

Public Health England recommends that stop smoking services should offer support to people who are using e-cigarettes in a quit attempt

Not as a last resort, not on prescription, just as a recommendation. Is this the end of patches and gum?

You will soon discover the best way for you of using your e-cigarette, […] It’s not like a cigarette, which you would smoke from start to finish, with an e-cigarette you can sip on it once or twice, and then put it away. If you find you’ve got it in your mouth all the time, you might need to use a stronger e-liquid

So, if I read that right, they’re saying that vapers self-titrate and, god forbid, might need stronger nicotine. It almost sounds like there might be less nicotine in ecigs than combustable cigarettes.

Familiarise yourself with e-cigarettes. Talk to experienced vapers, visit a reputable retailer and read posts on forums

So that’s a big no to blocking them on twitter and calling anyone that disagrees with you a troll, shill or bloody astro-turfer.

Don’t push people to come off their e-cigarette. Some practitioners feel it is important to get people off nicotine as soon as possible, but in fact longer-term e-cigarette use can be a protective factor against relapse back to smoking.

Don’t be alarmed about recreational nicotine. This is a choice some people make, and it is not the business of stop smoking services to make judgements about this. We are not a ‘stop nicotine service’ and if we think getting people off their e-cigarette is a good use of our time, we are ignoring a far more important opportunity to help people quit and to stay off cigarettes.

Argh. So many awesome in two paragraphs that I can’t even words. [hehe]. I’d argue the same is true of smoking of course. I know how much vaping has changed my life but I don’t feel the need to force it upon friends of mine that still smoke. I’m here if they want info (or facts correcting), but it’s their life – what right do any of us have to dictate how someone lives?

One service […] provided free e-cigarette starter packs in addition to standard stop-smoking medications as part of a research project. Their experience suggests that such a provision can increase the attractiveness and efficacy of the service. Despite the extra cost of the e-cigarettes, this practice generated savings because e-cigarettes are typically cheaper than licensed stop smoking medicines and a proportion of clients found that they did not need any other medication.

My emphasis added. A commercially bought ecig worked out to be cheaper than licensed medication, made stopping smoking more attractive, and negated the need for other forms of NRT. Anyone with any doubts about whether pharma is anti-vaping, there you go.

Will e-cigarettes be cheaper for me than smoking? Yes.

I know a few Caravela owners that would disagree with that, hehe 😉

Is it OK to smoke and vape at the same time? Yes. There is no evidence that smoking cigarettes and vaping at the same time increases health risks.

Dual use is ok!

Some people manage to switch completely to vaping quickly, whilst others take a little time. You may have to try a number of different e-cigarettes and e-liquids before you find the one that enables you to stop smoking completely, but this is quite normal.

Dual use is ok! – and *common* until people find the setup that works for them.

Be open to e-cigarette use in people keen to try them; especially in those who have tried and failed to stop smoking using licensed stop smoking medicines

Blanket bans and recommending against them for no good reason is a big no no then, someone should take note.

There is a wide range of e-cigarettes and people may need to try various types, flavours and nicotine dosages before they find a product that they like.

BOOM, adults like flavours too!

E-cigarette use is not like smoking and people may need to experiment and learn to use them effectively

So we need a vaping market with lots of different products. And then the biggie….

Although some health risks from e-cigarette use may yet emerge, these are likely, at worst, to be a small fraction of the risks of smoking.

It’s at this point the PDF takes a turn for the worse for a while, and discusses the TPD. I’m not going to go into detail because we’ve talked about it so much before (and it’s in the doc), but this nugget appears at the start.

It is unclear what impact the TPD may have on the e-cigarette market and whether there will be any unintended consequences.

Alas, many of us do know the impact of the TPD. In the UK we may have the least-negative implementation of the regs, but EU wide the landscape is somewhat bleak. But let’s keep with the happy.

Use of e-cigarettes by never smokers remains negligible and evidence does not support the view that e-cigarettes are acting as a gateway into smoking among young people

Another BOOM: None-smokers and never smokers are not attracted to vaping, and those that do vape don’t then go on to smoke.

Let’s finish on two big points.

There are no identified harms for bystanders from e-cigarette vapour.

There have been concerns that e-cigarettes might renormalise smoking, that is, make cigarette smoking appear to be a normal activity. Whilst this is a valid concern we do not have any data to show that this is occurring. Indeed, available data points in the opposite direction because cigarette smoking prevalence among both adults and young people has continued to fall in England as e-cigarette use has increased; the same has occurred in the USA.

I’d encourage you to read through the whole document, it’ll make you smile and equip you with the info’ you need when anyone asks about vaping or shares junk science around it. When you get to the end you’ll probably ask yourself the same question I’m wondering about now.

Now that those so vocally against vaping have been so clearly put right, just how are they going to continue professionally? Can they come back from years of rabid ranting about a topic they so obviously didn’t understand (to put it nicely), or is this it for them? I’m bet good money that we’ll see something from them soon.

Written: February 24, 2016