NHS Updates E Cigarette Advice

The NHS for England and Wales has updated its information about electronic cigarettes and vaping. The new messages make it clearer than ever that the NHS believes e-cigs work as a smoking cessation tool, are much safer than smoking, and can even be used during pregnancy.

The NHS says that messages about vaping circulating in the media and on social media frequently contain confusing and misleading information. It says that people frequently struggle to work out what is true as a result of the misinformation.

Two key facts the NHS now includes at the start of its refreshed page state:

·Nicotine vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking
·It’s one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking

The NHS says the facts it is providing about vaping are all based on “scientific evidence and research”. It should go further and point out that it is mainly independent British scientific evidence and research, produced by researchers unconnected to any vape or tobacco company and not reliant on their departments being funded by money from interested parties. In other words, this is the gold standard in global evidence.

Hoping to put minds at rest, the NHS reminds people that “nicotine itself is not very harmful and has been used safely for many years in medicines to help people stop smoking.”

Vaping works because it delivers nicotine in an efficient manner, similar to smoking, but in a far safer way. The NHS adds that this isn’t the only reason ecigs work as a quit tool, it’s because vaping also mimics the “routines and rituals of smoking”.

“You’re roughly twice as likely to quit smoking if you use a vape compared with other nicotine replacement products, like patches and gum,” the NHS says. “Some people find vaping helps them because the hand-to-mouth action is like smoking, plus you get similar sensations, like throat hit (the “kick” in the back of your throat when you inhale).”

While some research has found that people who continue to smoke while vaping experience some benefits, the NHS says that “any smoking is harmful and you will only get the full benefits of vaping if you stop smoking completely. Some people manage to make a full switch very quickly, while for others it can take a bit longer.”

The NHS says that smokers might experience coughing, a dry mouth and throat irritation, shortness of breath or headaches, but that these are temporary and will pass in a short time or after “making small changes to your vape products”.

The comprehensive list of information now being given by the NHS mirrors that being delivered by quit smoking services and proves how mainstream vaping has become.