Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of premature death and disease in the UK and beyond, responsible for one in every five deaths in adults aged over 35.
For regular smokers, kicking the habit is also the single biggest step they can take to improve their health. Even after a few months of quitting, you will notice the difference: clearer skin, more energy, easier breathing and lower stress levels are all common short term benefits. That’s not to mention the main benefit which is ultimately living a longer life.
Nicotine patches and gum have been a mainstay in the quitter’s arsenal for quite a while, but now e-cigarettes are quickly becoming the most popular option for those looking to quit tobacco smoking.
According to the NHS website: “An electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) is a device that allows you to inhale nicotine without most of the harmful effects of smoking. Over recent years, e-cigarettes have become a very popular stop smoking aid in the UK.”
The most harmful aspect of smoking is the smoke itself, a nasty cocktail of carbon monoxide, tar and plenty of other toxic chemicals. Remember that e cigarettes produce vapour, not smoke, and are therefore comparatively less dangerous to ingest. The threat of secondhand smoke is also removed almost entirely.
At the moment, e-cigarettes are not classed as medicinal, which means they are not available on prescription from the NHS. However, as more research into the associated health benefits of vaping over smoking is completed they are expected to be added to the NHS’s stop smoking services.
We hear so many success stories of people who have tried and failed to quit over the years by using nicotine patches, gum and other quitting aids, who have now managed to give up nicotine altogether by using e-cigarettes to gradually decrease their dependency.
Don’t just take our word for it. One of the most recent studies on vaping conducted by researchers at UCL in March 2016 found that e-cigarettes helped approximately 18,000 smokers to quit in 2014.
The UCL team has been tracking the rapid rise in use of e-cigarettes using monthly national surveys and estimates that in 2014 almost 900,000 smokers used one of these products to try to quit.
Professor Robert West, who led the research team, said: “E-cigarettes appear to be helping a significant number of smokers to stop who would not have done otherwise – not as many as some e-cigarette enthusiasts claim, but a substantial number nonetheless.”
Longer term research into the health effects of vaping is ongoing, although initial research suggests that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco.