The British Psychological Society (BPS) has urged a widespread promotion for e-cigarettes to be encouraged as a cessation aid for quitting smoking. Their report Changing Behaviour: Electronic Cigarettes’ recently published goes into great detail as to why e-cigarettes should be endorsed to help smokers switch to vaping and quit cigarettes altogether. E-cigarettes were the most successful method for quitting smoking last year, as Stoptober continues to encourage the remaining 1.3million smokers to ditch the nasty habit that claims thousands of lives every year.

So far, 53% of people used e-cigarettes to quit smoking since 2012, when Stoptober began, pushing the figure for successful quitters to 1.5million. The report by BPS details the following recommendations regarding e-cigarettes:

Education should be dramatically improved to ensure people are aware of the relative harms of smoking, nicotine and e-cigarettes

NHS Stop Smoking Services (SSS) should combine with e-cigarettes, the most popular quitting method to increase how attractive the service is and to boost their success rates. Technical support and e-cigarettes should be offered and fund the services to support smokers to quit.

Use policy interventions and financial measures to increase the cost of cigarettes and reduce the cost of an e-cigarette. Increase taxes, smoke-free regulation and purchasing barriers for cigarettes. For e-cigarettes, avoid taxation and ‘vape free’ legislation and promote unrestricted advertising of information that is factual.

Regulate to promote the development of products – allowing e-cigarettes to further evolve so they are safer and more satisfying for smokers.

Invest in research to explore the effects of electronic cigarettes

Dr Lynne Dawkins, the associate professor at London South Bank University and the co-author of the report has commented:

“For smokers trying to quit, e-cigarettes are more attractive than traditional smoking cessation methods, such as nicotine replacement therapy, and at least as effective. There is also mounting evidence that they are much safer than tobacco smoking. As a consumer product, although most Stop Smoking Services are not currently able to supply these, we recommend that they endorse them and support their use by smokers trying to quit”.

And in response to the report, Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has commented:

“We welcome this report setting out the role e-cigarettes can play in reducing the harm from smoking. Many smokers have found e-cigarettes helpful in quitting but confusion persists among some about the relative safety of vaping compared to smoking. 2.9 million adults in England currently use electronic cigarettes, over half have already quit smoking and many of the rest are actively seeking to do so.”

She continues to add that:

“Evidence shows that the most effective way to quit smoking is through a combination of professional face to face support and stop smoking aids. What health professionals tell smokers about e-cigarettes is important to ensure that smokers have an accurate view of what switching to vaping might mean. It is hoped that if smokers are better informed this will help more to successfully quit tobacco for good.”

Chris Polenski
Chris Polenski