E-Cigarettes/Vapourisers are currently the most popular stop smoking aid in England and evidence indicates they can help people quit.
They deliver nicotine through a vapour rather than smoke by heating and vapourising a solution that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings. Unlike conventional cigarettes, E-Cigs do not burn tobacco and do not produce tar or carbon monoxide. They are ‘vaped’ rather than smoked and although the vapour has been found to contain some toxicants that are also found in cigarette smoke, these are at much lower levels and pose a significantly lower risk to the user and any bystanders than smoking.
E-Cigs/Vapourisers are not completely risk free— however based on the current evidence they carry a fraction of the risk of smoking. If using an E-Cig helps you stay smokefree, it is much safer for you than continuing to smoke. Please note that at this time E-Cigs are still fairly new and we don’t yet have conclusive evidence if there are any effects from prolonged use in the long term.
Currently there are no vapourisers available that are licensed as medicines so they are not available on the NHS. However, evidence shows that they can be effective for quitting and there are around 3 million users in the United Kingdom, evenly divided by smokers and ex-smokers.
As there are so many brands on the market and very little research and testing, we recommend reading product reviews and seeking advise from specialist retailers and community forums to figure which device is best for you before making a purchase.
Although vapourisers are not recommended for use in pregnancy, Public Health England concluded that the hazard associated with electronic cigarette products “is likely to be extremely low, and certainly much lower than smoking”. So as a pregnant woman, if using an electronic cigarette helps you stop smoking, it is safer for both yourself and the unborn baby to do so.
The Stop Smoking Service can still provide support appointments if you decide to buy/use E-Cigs and can help you get the best out of them.
Electronic cigarette use amongst under 18s remains rare and is still not recommended due to the lack of studies and research surrounding the topic, we suggest using nicotine replacement therapy to stop smoking however we do know vaping is less harmful than smoking so if you find they help you stay smokefree, you are better off continuing use for as long as you need to stay off conventional cigarettes.
Film on quitting smoking with e-cigarettes
The National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT), in partnership with New Nicotine Alliance, has produced a short film called ‘The Switch‘ which focuses on switching smoking to e-cigarettes.
All of these films can be accessed via ‘The Switch’ YouTube channel.