PHE Calls For The NHS To Promote E-Cigarettes More Widely
Despite dire warnings from the media and the anti-vape crowd, Public Health England says regular use of e-cigarettes among young people is still extremely low and showing no signs of rising here in the UK.
However despite vaping being clearly the most successful way to quit smoking only a third of adult smokers has ever tried an e-cigarette and PHE tells the NHS this needs to change and quickly.
The new PHE report was released today and is the first of 3 the UK Government has ordered as part of the Tobacco Control Plan for England – I wrote in detail about this ‘grand plan‘ back in July 2017.
The report shows that whilst young people are ‘experimenting’ with e-cigarettes the numbers have only increased slightly with 1.7% of under 18s vaping once a week or more. However most of those smoke and of those who have never smoked and tried an e-cig the figure is extremely low at 0.2%.
On the subject of younger vapers Professor John Newton, Health Improvement Director at Public Health England said:
In contrast to recent media reports in the US, we are not seeing a surge in e-cigarette use among young people in Britain.
While more young people are experimenting with e-cigarettes, the crucial point is that regular use remains low and is very low indeed among those who have never smoked.
We will keep a close watch on young people’s vaping and smoking habits to ensure we stay on track to achieve our ambition of a smoke-free generation.
As we all know kids like to ‘experiment’ with all sorts of things as they grow up and develop. Sometimes as a form of rebellion – to shock – or to just express themselves. Whilst I’m not condoning young people smoking it has and probably will be seen as a ‘rite of passage’ by many.
The fact that most young people here in the UK trying vaping are those that are already smoking shows they have ignored the fake news and in many cases are looking to e-cigarettes to help them quit which has to be a positive.
It’s also refreshing to see that under 18’s who have ‘never smoked’ but have ‘tried’ an e-cigarette [tried being the operative word] is so low it’s almost off the chart. What this shows is that despite claims of peer pressure making vaping look cool this new generation ain’t for fooling and more power to them.
NHS Should Urge All Smokers To Switch To Vaping
The report states the number of older smokers in the UK continues to fall with just 15% of adults using lit tobacco.
However PHE thinks that figure could fall faster IF the NHS Stop Smoking Services promoted the use of e-cigarettes more widely and make it very clear indeed that traditional patches – gums and sprays play second fiddle in successful quit smoking attempts.
They back this up using results from a study showing e-cigarettes are TWICE as likely to help smokers quit than other methods pointing out that:
Despite e-cigarettes now being the most popular quit aid, just over a third of smokers have never tried one. Only 4% of quit attempts through Stop Smoking Services in England are made using e-cigarettes, despite this being an effective approach.
Professor Newton made it very clear:
We could accelerate the decline in smoking if more smokers switched completely to vaping. Recent new evidence clearly shows using an e-cigarette with Stop Smoking Service support can double your chances of quitting.
But with e-cigarettes currently used so rarely in services, it’s time for change. Every Stop Smoking Service must start talking much more about the potential of vaping to help smokers quit.
If you smoke, switching to vaping could save you years of ill health, and even your life.
You can’t get clearer support for the effectiveness and indeed health benefits of e-cigs than that!
He was joined by lead author of the report – Professor Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London – who said:
We are encouraged that regular vaping among young people in Britain who have never smoked remains low. However, we need to stay vigilant and in particular closely monitor youth smoking.
With just over a third of adult smokers having never tried an e-cigarette, there is a clear opportunity for more smokers to try a method which has helped many others to quit.
Smokers should be advised to stop smoking as soon as possible and explore all available options for support, including e-cigarettes.
PHE says the very best way to quit is through NHS SSS whilst using an e-cig – a notion that most of us who now vape didn’t need if we’re honest. However they do say:
The report says that combining e-cigarettes with face-to-face support should remain a recommended option available to all smokers. It calls for stop smoking practitioners and health professionals supporting smokers to receive education and training, in the use of e-cigarettes in quit attempts.
Online training is now available, via the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT).
I wrote about that training in the article A Third Of UK Cancer Specialists ‘Unclear’ About Benefits Of E-Cigs – which as the title suggests shows the majority of NHS bosses and staff are still woefully ignorant of the benefits of e-cigarettes. Whether this report will change that is unclear – but lets certainly hope so!
It’s yet another positive report on e-cigarettes from the UK Government and Public Health England and is the complete contrast to the hysteria currently being played out over in America.
One has to ask…Why?
Read the complete report: Vaping in England: evidence update summary February 2019
Further Reading – Guide to vaping for parents