A new study on vaping out of the United Kingdom is suggesting the government add electronic cigarettes to their list of cessation tools and promote the devices for smokers.
A report from the British Psychological Society released this week seeks to clear the air on misconceptions surrounding the health impacts of vaping devices and includes recommendations to the government on how they can leverage the technology to reduce smoking rates in the country. The researchers found that e-cigarettes are by far the most popular cessation tool for smokers and argue government programs that promote quitting smoking should recognize this fact.
The researchers note that long term smoking takes an average of 10 years of life off the user, and the medical and indirect costs associated with the habit are estimated to cost the National Health Service (NHS) $13.9 billion annually. By offering the choice of e-cigarettes through the NHS Stop Smoking Services (SSS), the researchers say the health body can drastically reduce costs while saving lives.
“E-cigs are a more attractive method of quitting than traditional methods because they address the behavioral aspects of smoking as well as the physical addiction,” Dr. Lynne Dawkins, associate professor at London South Bank University and co-author of the report, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There is increasing evidence that they are far less harmful than cigarettes and useful to many smokers trying to quit smoking.”
The government getting behind the technology is a crucial component to encouraging smokers to use the devices. Dawkins argues the perpetual misinformation circulating the public on vaping and a lack of government backing make people skeptical of the products and less likely to regularly use them.
“Many smokers have tried e-cigarettes and not continued to use them,” Dawkins told TheDCNF. “In order to encourage more smokers to make the switch, we need to: send clear messages about the reduced harm compared with smoking; allow e-cigarettes to evolve and improve and avoid arbitrary caps on nicotine levels; and raise the cost of smoking and reduce the cost of e-cigarettes.”
A study released Oct. 2 by the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center reveals alternative smoking technologies could drastically reduce deaths from smoking. The study shows that if vaping were to largely replace smoking, roughly 6.6. million smokers would avoid premature death and collectively add 86.7 million extra years to their lives.
Public health experts focused on harm reduction say governments need to publicly recognize the benefits of vaping if they are serious about achieving a smoke-free future.