Whenever there’s a slow news day, someone – campaigner, politician or bored reporter – seems to think ‘E-cigarettes! That’s a good target for some mis-informed, poorly researched and generally incorrect rubbish that will fill the blank day ahead of us.’
What’s the harm in that? No one will suffer…
Well they will suffer, as a matter of fact. Is there anyone left who doesn’t know that smoking kills millions? So anything that helps people ‘kick the weed’ is worth trying.
Conversely, putting out messages that put people off trying to stop smoking has to be wrong!
Thing is, these days everyone has an opinion. And a lack of knowledge doesn’t seem to be an impediment when folk are climbing up on their soap box to ‘educate’ others does it?
So what do genuine experts say?
Professor Robert West of Cancer Research UK said: “In the whole of my career, over 30 years working in the field of tobacco research, the best we’ve been able to achieve in terms of getting smoking prevalence down is around one per cent a year. Now, with electronic cigarettes, we have an opportunity to end the tobacco epidemic in my lifetime. This is something that I never thought I would see.”
Yes, on balance I think I’d take more notice of Professor West than a politician or an ‘expert’ propping up the bar in Wetherspoons.
But I’ll tell you whose opinion I value as highly as any expert. That’s the opinion of people who have actually tried to stop smoking.
In Newcastle the other day, the Chronicle asked former smokers for their top tips on quitting. Let’s hear their stories:
Sarah quit on November 22 after 20 years.
Top tips: Getting a fright off watching my husband have a heart attack and my son saw the whole thing, it gave me the push I needed as I don’t want my children see me like that. When I feel the need to smoke I go and do something eg dishes, hoover, paint my nails and think to myself my health is more important. I did use an e-cigarette when the craving got so bad and that really helped, I also have mints in my pocket at all times. Spending the money I have saved to treat my children makes me want to stay smoke free,
How stopping smoking made a difference: I’m not stopping to get my breath and I’m no longer coughing. I’ve also noticed my teeth are white again! I have money in my purse and I no longer smell like an ashtray. Stopping is the best thing I have ever done.
Suzanne quit 2002 after over 20 years.
Top tips: Don’t talk yourself into thinking you cannot survive without a cig. Lots of people love to talk about how bad it was how they became horrible to family friends etc but it’s amazing how many people will admit that it wasn’t as hard as they had expected.
How stopping smoking made a difference: I don’t stink and my house doesn’t stink of smoke. As a non smoker now I have to admit that the smell of stale smoke on a person’s breath, clothes and their home is stomach churningly bad. The savings we now make means more trips out, more weekends away and ultimately more chance that I will still be alive and healthy by the time I have grandchildren.
Bev quit on December 13 after 30 years.
Top tips: You have to have willpower, go to a smoking clinic and get help.
How stopping smoking made a difference: I can breathe now and got rid of my annoying cough. Also my two oldest daughters are pregnant and I always promised to stop smoking for the babies’ sake. Hate the smell of it now.
Paul, 45, quit in 2009
Top tips: I used Fisherman’s Friends which burn the back of your tongue a bit.
How stopping smoking made a difference: I can now sleep better and lie on my back as my chest is lighter.