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UKVIA welcomes health watchdog’s backing of vaping as legitimate method for helping people to quit smoking

  • NICE guidance for smoking cessation workers “another significant milestone” for e-cigarettes
  • “Not only do we have science on our side, we also have growing and widespread support from the world of politics and the health services” John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA

Government health watchdog NICE’s newly published guidance on use of vaping within NHS settings and smoking cessation services is yet another win for advocates of e-cigarettes’ effectiveness in helping people quit combustible tobacco while promoting harm reduction.

That’s the view of the UKVIA which has welcomed the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s new advice for NHS workers and other healthcare professionals involved in helping people to quit smoking.

Called “Tobacco: preventing uptake, promoting quitting and treating dependence”, the guidance says vaping should be “accessible to adults who smoke” and included alongside other nicotine replacement therapies such as gums and patches.

In addition, smoking cessation teams should also include e-cigarettes when they “advise people (as appropriate for their age) that the following options, when combined with behavioural support, are more likely to result in them successfully stopping smoking”.

NICE points out that people providing stop-smoking support or advice should emphasise that:

  • Most smoking-related health problems are caused by other components in tobacco smoke, not by the nicotine
  • Any risks from using medicinally licensed nicotine-containing products or other stop-smoking pharmacotherapies are much lower than those of smoking.

The health watchdog also urges medical staff to explain how to use nicotine-containing products correctly, including ensuring people know how to achieve a high enough dose to:

  • Control cravings
  • Prevent compensatory smoking
  • Achieve their goals on stopping or reducing the amount they smoke.

The guidance also says proper advice should be given to show adults how to use nicotine-containing vape devices, explaining that:

  • E-cigarettes are not licensed medicines but are regulated by the Tobacco and Related
  • Products Regulations (2016)
  • There is not enough evidence to know whether there are long-term harms from e-cigarette use
  • Use of e-cigarettes is likely to be substantially less harmful than smoking
  • Any smoking is harmful, so people using e-cigarettes should stop smoking tobacco completely.

“This new guidance is yet another significant milestone towards the mainstream acceptance that vaping is a safe and effective smoking cessation method that we have campaigned years for,” said John Dunne, Director General of the UK Vaping Industry Association.

“Day by day the anti-vaping lobby’s arguments grow weaker and more nonsensical to the point now where they are pretty much an irrelevance.”

In September the UKVIA, in partnership with the Smoke Free app, launched a national education campaign aimed at providing healthcare workers across the UK with the information they need to help smokers transition from combustible tobacco  to vaping.

John Dunne continued: “For those of us who advocate vaping for the good of harm reduction and health protection, not only do we have the science on our side, we now also have growing and widespread support from the worlds of politics and health services, underlining that vaping is a legitimate tool in the fight to stamp out smoking for good.”

Louise Ross, Business Development Manager, the Smoke Free app, commented: “We welcome this guidance; we know that many of our app users have successfully stopped smoking using a combination of behavioural support and nicotine-containing vapes.

“We hope that healthcare professionals will feel more confident now in supporting their patients to try vaping in order to stop smoking. In this way, we should see a significant fall in smoking rates, and a greater likelihood of achieving the Smokefree 2030 ambition.”