Vaping and E-Cigarettes Keeping Smokers Away From NHS Clinics
Despite promoting e-cigs as a way to quit smoking the NHS still suggests combining them with visits to one of their Stop Smoking Services.
However the facts don’t add up as users of NHS Stop Smoking clinics have fallen considerably here in England over the last four years whilst Northern Ireland has reported an even bigger drop in data released this week.
Here in England the figures showed that in the period 2015 to 2016 the number of smokers turning to the NHS clinics dropped by over 15% equating to just 382,500 smokers out of the smoking population of 7.2million.
Barely a drop in the ocean truth be told and despite the fact there’s now 14million ex-smokers in England alone.
Little wonder the NHS has used e-cigarettes in their current Stoptober campaign as they almost grudgingly had to admit e-cigs and vaping were replacing trips to the ‘clinic’.
You can read the stats HERE.
Now what stands out for me on these figures – I’ll get onto Northern Ireland in a moment – is that people are managing their nicotine addictions themselves – without the need to get their hands held by nurses and so called ‘tobacco experts’.
And it’s proving to be successful with far less smokers and more vapers – close to 3million at the last count but I suspect the real figure is much higher.
Ain’t it amazing what we adults can do when left alone lol and just think of the savings to the NHS if these pretty much redundant stop smoking clinics were streamlined – more emphasis placed on e-cigs as cessation tools or even mothballed.
Stop Smoking Clinics – Value for Money?
From what I can gather the stop smoking clinics are currently costing the NHS around £100million per year – hardly value for money.
So maybe the call for a sea-change in NHS stop smoking methods from a Northern Ireland health official should be taken seriously.
The drop in smokers using NHS stop smoking clinics is a growing trend and reflected in the latest data from The Northern Ireland Department of Health and they make sobering reading for the health chiefs of those services.
2,700 less smokers visited NHS NI smoking cessation clinics last year another fall on recent figures this time equating to 12%.
Neil Johnston, Public Affairs Adviser for Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke said he was sure this was down to more people using e-cigarettes and turning their backs on the clinics:
The number using the services and setting a quit date has fallen from 39,000 in 2011 to just 18,000 this year – however during the same period the use of e- cigarettes has increased enormously so it may be that smokers are simply using a different route to try to break their addiction.
The fall off in use of cessation services is almost entirely in the 18-34 age bracket and it is probably these people who have decided to try e-cigarettes.
However and despite his assertions and the obvious facts – he still refuses to accept that e-cigs and vaping are the best way to quit cigarettes:
NICHS would recommend that e-cigs are used only as a short-term measure.
Once again a health ‘expert’ with little if any understanding of vaping.
What Happens At Stop Smoking Clinics?
I think it’s time for a survey to find out how many of us vapers have managed our nicotine addiction ourselves.
Nicotine by the way, is relatively harmless and has similar properties to caffeine and doesn’t give you cancer.
I know of many vapers who began on high nic levels and have reduced them BY THEMSELVES with no help from these clinics and experts.
Like I said it’s amazing what we can do when armed with the facts and left alone to make our own choices.
So what can you expect if you pop along to one of these quit smoking clinics?
According to SmokeFree NHS smokers using these free services are offered individual and group counseling and advised on Nicotine Replacement Therapies [NRTS] and ‘stop smoking medicines’ available for the cost of a prescription.
They claim there’s a local Stop Smoking Service pretty much near everyone in the country and they make the bold claim that ‘studies show you are 4 times more likely to quit using these services’ adding that 9/10 users would recommend the clinics.
Now I can’t find the ‘studies’ to back those figures up – however if they are so successful how come the numbers of smokers using them are dropping alarmingly?
Following the recent release of yet more depressing data highlighting the fall the then boss of the Health and Social Care Information Centre – Kingsley Manning said:
There has been a large decline in the number of people setting a quit date this year through using the NHS Stop Smoking Services. However, the fact that the success rate has remained at over 50 per cent demonstrates that this service helps patients that want to stop smoking.
It might be helping some and yes that’s to be applauded – however if this was a business then the alarming downward spiral would literally spell the end.
What we do know for a fact is the majority of so called stop smoking ‘medicines’ come with nasty side effects – whilst the majority of Big Tobacco backed NRTs simply don’t work and they’ve known it for years.
Time To Rethink NHS Smoking Cessation Services?
The answer is in my opinion to release the choke-hold on the vaping industry for a start and begin by tearing up the TRPR and TPD.
Train vape shop staff in the basics of using e-cigs to quit smoking and for goodness sake these shops should be stocking far more starter kits and high mg nicotine than the majority do now.
Without any hand holding or Government intervention smokers are making the switch and this is coming through advice and sometimes pressure from their peers and dare I say websites like this.
Because as we all know the media where most folks get their facts has been biased to the point of ridiculousness this past few years.
Look I’m not saying don’t bother with these stop smoking clinics I’m just pointing out that they are not as popular as they once were.
And therefore like Neil Johnston said the NHS needs to seriously re-think it’s smoking cessation services and do that pretty soon.
The inclusion of e-cigarettes in the current Stoptober campaign is the first move in what I hope will become for what has definitely been a life saver for me and millions of other ex smokers around the world.