Do we really need these services or is it that individuals are finding their own way to quit smoking through the use of ecigarettes because vaping is so effective?
Many local authorities around the United Kingdom are looking at ways to reduce their spending on public services and we are now starting to see various cuts been made to stop smoking services. In Kingston upon Hull, the Stop Smoking Service is under threat with further funding cuts from the local council.
I was looking through a range of these smoke free service websites and noticed they all offer a vast amount of information on licensed smoking cessation products such as:
- Champix (Varenicline) a prescription only medication which has number of possible side effects warnings including suicide ideation, moods changes, abnormal dreams, vomiting and sleep disturbance.
- Zyban (Bupropion) is a prescription only medication and was originally designed to help treat depression (one of the most widely prescribed anti-depressants) but was later found to be helpful in quitting smoking. This also comes with a wide range of possible side effects when using this medication.
- Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products including patch, inhalator, lozenge, chewing gum, microtab, nasal spray, mouthspray and oral strips. Some of these can also be found on the shelves in many high street stores such as Boots Pharmacy with quite a high price tag. 12 to 18-year-olds can get free nicotine replacement therapy (patches, sprays, gum) on the NHS. Although the government has just restricted retailers to sell electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or e-liquids to someone under 18.
Unfortunately over the years many people have found these products to be unsuccessful and the popularity of the above products is declining. Probably because people are finding vaping more cost effective and more effective at helping them quit smoking. Many of us know family and friends who have tried quitting numerous times, especially those that have smoked for several decades.
These stop smoking services also provide one to one and group sessions, telephone support, case studies and information on the damage caused by smoking tobacco products.
It was disappointing to find a lack of information on ecigarettes and links to vaping website but maybe it is because they are not licensed products?
It seems that finally after Public Health England announced that e-Cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking that Stop Smoking Services are launching their e-Cig Friendly service. It is good to see support of this effective route of getting people to stop using cigarettes or support those that are dual users (using both e-Cigarettes and Tobacco/Cigarettes). It has taken along time for this to happen but it seems to makes sense. It appears these services are now following the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training briefing on electronic cigarettes published in 2014.
Do they really have any choice not to do this though, maybe it will help with their figures and to help secure future funding?
Some of the services we have already identified that are now e-Cig Friendly and they contain “basic” information on vaping:
- Smoke Free West Sussex
- Stop Smoking Leicester
- NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Smokefree Services
- Kickstart Cheshire
I was quite surprised to see the following information on the Smoke Free West Sussex FAQ section:
Should we recommend an e-cigarette product?
“No. As the products are not licensed, health care professionals and the stop smoking service should not recommend a specific e-cigarette product.”
Can people who use e-cigarettes only and have stopped smoking tobacco products still use the service?
“No. At present, the service is only open to people who smoke tobacco products and who are using an e-cigarette or want to use an e-cigarette to help them quit tobacco.”
The NHS has just updated their stop smoking treatment section with information on electronic cigarettes which great to see!
It seems that many vape shops around the United Kingdom are the new future of stop smoking services for many people. Most of them will offer you guidance on the use of vaping products and e-Liquid nicotine strengths. It is also much cheaper and easier to purchase them without a prescription (if you have to pay for prescriptions). Many people probably feel more comfortable walking into a vape shop rather than “seeking help” and using a stop smoking service. There is also a vast amount information online relating to vaping and so many success stories of vaping been much more effective than the products offered by Stop Smoking Services.
Vaping is like self medicating for some people and they have stopped using nicotine completely because they can control their addiction. This is achieved by reducing their intake of nicotine through stepping down the strength of e-Liquid week by week.
I think it a good move that some of these services are now ecig friendly and that they have some information on vaping and eigarettes. The support and advice they provide will always help some people quit smoking. Education is always a good thing in my eyes and raising awareness and giving the facts is essential.
The big question is though. Is it cost effective for the government and local authorities to spend money on these services now that vaping is so popular?
Leave us know your thoughts and comment below.