Supporting e-cigarettes as a quit smoking aid
3 October 2017
Unless the current trends can be turned, an estimated billion lives will be lost to smoking-related illnesses by the end of the twenty first century and yes, we’ve heard this many times before but what can be done. The British Psychological Society Changing Behaviour: Electronic Cigarettes authored by Lynne Dawkins and Hayden McRobbie helps to spell out the facts and figures around smoking cessation and recommendations for the use of e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking.
Long-term regular smokers will lose around 10 years of their life and yet only a third make a quit attempt each year. Many are now using electronic cigarettes to help them stop. In the UK now, e-cigarettes are used 33% compared with traditional NRT therapies 11% and prescription medicines at 9%.
This Society explores the psychology of smoking, the behaviours and sensations, which can contribute to the addiction, such as holding a cigarette, feeling the smoke in the mouth, throat hit, even the use of a smoking to facilitate social interaction. These factors and the speed of nicotine delivery through electronic cigarettes help simulate the same experiences smokers crave with smoking, which may support increased success rate in quit attempts.
Despite e-cigarettes providing a less harmful alternative to smoking research (survey by ASH 2017) is showing that the ease of smoking (lighting a cigarette) compared to operating and maintaining an e-cigarette leads many first time vapers back to smoking. Finding the easiest and most effective e-cigarette starter kit will assist smokers to switch. Many smokers reported that newer generation e-cigarettes were too bulky, or scary to use. Many used cig-a-likes (which look like cigarettes) but are less effective in their nicotine delivery method.
The Society makes the following recommendations around e-cigarettes:-Improve education - Combine the existing quit smoking service practice with the most popular quitting method, e-cigarettes. - Use policy interventions and fiscal measures to reduce the cost of electronic cigarettes whilst making traditional cigarettes more expensive. - Regulate the e-cigarette industry to promote product development. - Invest in research. Read on…the evidence and what works.