A new nationwide initiative, launched this week, aims to provide guidance to frontline nursing staff at NHS Trusts to help their patients suffering from smoking-related conditions give up cigarettes for good.
The initiative is being rolled out by the UK Vaping Industry Association and Smoke Free, the world’s most successful stop smoking app, to every NHS Trust across the country and will provide access to a range of resources for healthcare practitioners to advise their patients knowledgably on how to successfully switch from conventional cigarettes to vape products. It follows the decision by the NHS earlier this year to trial the use of vapes in A&E departments of selected hospitals throughout the UK.
There are currently 3.6m vapers in the UK, 2.4m who have given up smoking entirely and overwhelming evidence shows that vaping is the most effective way to quit cigarettes. Along with the NHS, organisations including The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (formerly Public Health England), Cancer Research UK and the Royal College of Physicians have also recognised the harm reduction opportunity presented by vaping for smokers, stating that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than cigarette use.
Dr David Crane, the founder of Smoke Free app, which has been downloaded six million times and offers wide-ranging support for smokers looking to quit, added: “We are delighted to be supporting this initiative. Whilst the advice we provide goes beyond just vaping, there is no doubt about the public health potential of vape products helping smokers stop smoking.
“What’s just as important of course is that former smokers aren’t tempted back and see their former habits as permanently changed. The advice provided by this initiative also covers the behaviour change techniques needed to make that happen.”
Commented John Dunne, Director General of the UK Vaping Industry Association, which has led on the initiative: “We were delighted when we heard about the national vape trials that the NHS were doing and we wanted to draw on the expertise of our members across the country to support the healthcare profession with the best guidance possible to use when advising their patients who smoke on how to successfully make the switch to much less harmful vaping.
“As with any smokers, just offering patients a vape starter kit and leaving them to their own devices won’t work. Instead, it’s crucial that frontline NHS staff are equipped with the knowledge to provide expert advice on choice of vape device, nicotine concentration and flavours to ensure the best chance of a quit outcome.”
NHS staff and patients suffering from smoking conditions can access questions and answers about vape products, a 5 point guide to successfully quitting smoking through vaping and the Smoke Free app via a special healthcare hub created by the UKVIA.