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E-Cigarettes and the NHS


Last month the NHS revealed brand new research from University College London (UCL) and Cancer research UK. The research found the steady rise in vaping has helped thousands quit traditional cigarettes.

In the UK, it’s estimated that e-cigarettes are the most popular aid when it comes to giving up smoking, with an estimated 2.8 million people using them to kick the habit. Other research from reputable sources including Public Health England also estimates that e-cigarettes are actually 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes.

The NHS shared on their website that although it is impossible to prove e-cigarettes are the reason more people are quitting, there is a strong correlation between a combination of smoking cessation aids, like e-cigs, and the decrease of smoking rates in the UK.

Where did the NHS find this information?

This new information shared by the NHS was published in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal (BMJ). As this is on an open access basis, you can read it all free here.

Whilst the article continues to say although the long-term effects are still uncertain, many other organisations (such as PHE) back up the evidence that e-cigarettes are undoubtedly safer than tobacco cigarettes.

What kind of research was this?

This research collected was data from various cross-sectional surveys. The NHS explain that this type of research has been able to assess the changes in smoking over the years, and whether e-cigarettes are linked to quitting rates.

Although this type of study cannot actually prove the cause and effect, it is useful in other aspects, particularly when looking at trends and policies across the population.

Robert West, co-author of the study and Professor of Health Psychology at University College, London said “We estimate for every 10,000 people who used an e-cigarette to quit, there are approximately 580 people who would have quit regardless.”

What were some key findings?

Here are the key findings the NHS picked out:

  • Over the study period, there was an increase in the success rate of those who reported an attempt to quit (from 10.6% in the last quarter of 2006 to 18.6% in the first quarter of 2015).
  • Meanwhile, while use of e-cigarettes among smokers was negligible in the last quarter of 2006, it rose to 21.3% at the end of the study.
  • Use of e-cigarettes during an attempt to quit also rose sharply from nothing to 35% by 2015.


In Conclusion

The study ultimately found those who use NHS stop smoking services are more likely to quit. However, many people don’t use these services and instead opt to quit successfully with nicotine patches and e-cigarettes

Professor Linda Bauld, the chairwoman in cancer prevention at Cancer Research UK, said the research “suggests many people are using e-cigarettes rather than other available options to stop smoking, and for a significant number they are working”.

She continues to say “This is a positive choice and we should promote it.”