Doctor Promotes UK Quit Smoking Approach

A Canadian anaesthesiologist has advised people working in tobacco control that they ought to be following the United Kingdom’s lead and praised independent UK vape related research. Dr John Oyston spent forty years practising in hospitals and became switched on to tobacco harm reduction and the power of switching to electronic cigarettes due to the fact that he saw “first hand and close up how much damage the tobacco industry is doing to human bodies.

Since retiring from clinical work, Dr Oyston has founded the Stop Smoking for Safer Surgery campaign, published a blog series about smoking, set up a Quit by Vaping program, and spoken at many conferences about the evidence underpinning ecigs as an effective quit smoking tool.

Firstly, Dr Oyston believes people should be empathetic towards smokers.
Most people who still smoke made a bad life choice when they were in their teens,” he says. At one point they could quit with ease, but over time this becomes far more difficult – and the traditional approaches of patches and gum “actually only have a success rate of 10% or less”.

He says smokers struggle to quit because “they lacked the support, the strength, and the other sources of pleasure in their lives that would have made it easier to quit.

Dr Oyston believes governments and health officials should set reasonable goals to reduce smoking rates in the way that the United Kingdom has done.

We have done “the reading and the research. There is an excellent UK Evidence Review of the risks and benefits of vaping. The prestigious Cochrane Collaboration has stated that they are convinced that e-cigarettes help smokers to quit more effectively than traditional NRT,” he says.

The problem that opponents to vaping have, Dr Oyston believes, is that they confuse vaping with smoking – but “people smoke for the nicotine but they die from the tar”, and there is no tar produced when vaping. He says this is fully understood when applied to nicotine patches and gum, but traditional replacement products release far too little nicotine to be effective. For this reason, “smoking is still a major medical problem 38 years after NRT was invented.

People shouldn’t be afraid of nicotine, it has “similar effects to caffeine. It slightly increases heart rate and blood pressure and can help concentration. Unlike alcohol, it is not carcinogenic”.

Dr Oyston says that effective stop smoking policies should rely on allowing tobacco users access to a wide range of choices – including vaping.

Vaping provides people who smoke with a very cigarette-like experience. Some people like the tobacco and menthol flavours, but most people prefer to switch away from the smell and taste of tobacco and go for a fruit or sweet dessert flavour. Vaping can provide the same amount of nicotine as cigarette smoke but is 20x safer,” he comments.

He states:

·Vape is tobacco-free
·E-cigarettes are not cigarettes
·Vaping produces a vapour, not smoke
·Vaping does not cause popcorn lung, and
·Nicotine vaping did not cause the 2019 disease falsely called EVALI

Ultimately, Dr Oyston advises tobacco controllers to “follow the science” because “vaping is not leading to an increase in teen smoking or rolling back years of progress in tobacco control.

He concluded: “It is time to recognise that nicotine plays a role in some people’s lives. If they cannot, or do not want to, quit using it, we should adopt a harm reduction approach and persuade them to switch to safer nicotine sources.