Jamie Hartmann-Boyce from the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group and Martin Dockrell from the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities have shared seven things they believe you need to know about vapes, vaping, and quitting smoking. They base their opinions on findings from the latest Cochrane Living Review of E-cigarettes and Smoking Cessation.
“One of the most common things we hear about e-cigarettes and health is ‘we just don’t know yet’ but the evidence, especially on their contribution to quitting smoking, is continuing to build,” Jamie Hartmann-Boyce and Martin Dockrell say.
What is the Cochrane Living Review of E-cigarettes?
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews is the leading journal and database for systematic reviews in health care. Everyone involved is an independent researcher, healthcare professional, patient, or carer.
The findings are targeted at NHS policy makers and politicians formulating legislation. Cochrane also publishes a plain English version for anyone with a general interest in the research.
The latest Living Review of E-cigarettes considered the findings from 78 of the most relevant studies that covered over 22,000 people. Forty of the studies looked at were randomised control trials – considered to offer the best kind of evidence.
1.Quitting smoking improves your health
Hartmann-Boyce and Dockrell say that quitting cigarettes even for a few days can benefit your health.
The evidence tells them that “your heart rate will drop and carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your blood will return to normal levels” within days of switching from smoking to vaping. Within nine months after switching any coughing and shortness of breath will decrease. If you remain away from tobacco for over a year, they say the risk of a heart attack will halve.
2.Will power alone won’t help you quit smoking
Some people attempt to quit smoking by going cold turkey. While this strength of mind is “important”, they add, “it is rarely enough”. They say that quitting smoking is not easy and this approach almost always ends in failure. “Will power alone provides the baseline on which better interventions can build,” they state.
3.Use a range of approaches to maximise quitting success
Hartmann-Boyce and Dockrell continue: “Combine different types of support for the best quit rates. People are more likely to successfully quit if they use an evidence-based stop smoking treatment, such as behavioural counselling … and e-cigarettes with nicotine.”
4.Vaping works as a stop smoking solution
The experts say that the independent evidence proves that vaping with nicotine e-liquids is a more effective approach than using nicotine patches, gums or sprays.
They believe this is the reason that vaping has become the most popular choice to use as a quitting tool in England. They think that the reason e-cigs are so successful is because people continue to use them for longer than they would if they were using nicotine patches, gums or sprays.
5.Switching to vaping improves your health
Hartmann-Boyce and Dockrell state that using e-cigarettes:
·Reduces levels of toxicants in the blood and breath
·Does not produce tar or carbon monoxide
·Is considerably safer than combustible cigarettes
6.Misinformation is putting off smokers from switching
“E-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking,” says Hartmann-Boyce and Dockrell, but “risk perceptions are going in the opposite direction.”
The evidence shows that people from less advantaged backgrounds are more likely to smoke
Smokers from less advantaged backgrounds are more likely to smoke, find it harder to quit, are more likely to believe the misinformation, and are the ones who “who would benefit most from trying to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking”.
7.Vapes are helping the UK to become smoke free
Evidence shows that the world’s average population smoking rate is 17.5%. Thanks to support for vaping in the UK, our smoking rate is far lower at 14%.