If there is one thing that a smoker knows it is that giving up the habit is incredibly hard. Successful attempts to give up cold turkey are rarely successful, certainly without planning and support. How then can smokers be supported in giving up such a blatantly obvious unhealthy habit? Government health experts, recognising the benefits of vaping to smokers wanting to quit suggest merging NHS Stop Smoking Services with vaping.
If you are looking to give up smoking there are a number of options available to you. You might want to choose to take part in a stop smoking event such as Public Health England’s Stoptober. You might throw away your cigarettes and just get on with it (cold turkey) you could switch to a suitable alternative (using e cigarettes and e liquids) and you could utilise Local Stop Smoking Services (LSSS). What people are starting to realise is that in order to quit smoking successfully and for good, there is no reason why you need to be limited to using just one of these options.
Quitting Smoking Problems
One of the reasons that giving up tobacco cigarettes is so hard is the fact that you are basically fighting a war on numerous fronts! Not only are you battling against losing the nicotine intake that you are used to (which causes fierce cravings for some people) you face missing physical habits, social habits and mental habits too.
Everyone experiences something different when it comes to giving up smoking which is why it stands to reason that a number of solutions or a mix of methods may be needed to maximise a person’s chances of successfully quitting. It would be a boring world if we were all the same, after all. The key is to identify what is going to work best for you.
What a Local Stop Smoking Service offers is targeted 1-1 and group support geared towards helping individuals give up smoking. They offer motivation, accountability, hints, tips, tricks and more. It is usually via an LSSS appointment that you would access a number of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products which are aimed at helping lessened the cravings due to nicotine withdrawal.
There have been some great successes coming out of LSSS support. They aren’t for everyone though or rather aren’t always quite enough for everyone.
Vaping and Cessation
When it comes to putting your cigarettes away for good you have a number of habits you need to get past. For example, the hand to mouth action, having something in your hand, being able to take a draw to relax you, smoking at certain times (i.e. after meals) and social smoking are all things you need to get past. It isn’t easy! This is why vaping has been hailed as being the best alternative to smoking for those struggling to quit without an alternative or those not wanting to give up yet not wanting to worry about the health implications.
With vaping you inhale a vapour produced by heating up a flavoured e liquid instead of breathing in smoke from a tobacco cigarette that is laden with toxic chemicals (according to the World Health Organisation who also class smoking as having the potential to cause cancer). Removing that obviously dangerous to health element and switching to something that Public Health England report is at least 95% less harmful than smoking is much better than smoking. This is why so many health professionals, scientist, researcher and public health officials are keen to advocate for vaping as a better alternative to smoking, including pushing for better access to vaping to encourage smokers to switch.
A Winning Combination
Clearly both LSSS support and switching to vaping have a lot to offer smokers looking to give up smoking. Merging these two support types in something the government are keen to facilitate, offering guidance to GPs and LSSS staff in order to again make it clear to those visiting the LSSS that using an e cigarette may be something that enhances their chances of successfully managing to stop smoking quitting smoking.
While LSSS services won’t be giving out Nicotine Replacement Therapy product (i.e patches, inhalers and more) to those using nicotine-containing e liquid a combined service could really work to help smokers deal with all aspects of giving up smoking.
When it comes to deciding to stop smoking it makes sense to find whatever method works best for you in order to boost your chances of success. After all, the stakes are high. Not only is tobacco cigarette smoking linked to cancer but it can cause heart and lung problems as well as being a risk factor for numerous other conditions including diabetes. Recognising that giving up smoking is hard and that there are sources of help out there is the first step to to reaching those all-important health goals.
With fewer than 4% of smokers at a LSSS clinic reporting e cigarette usage in 2016/2017 it will be interesting to see what the take-up of a dual support system will be when LSSS staff are reassuring smokers about the benefits of switching to vaping, alongside targeted LSSS support. Both methods have contributed to falling smoking rates amongst adults in England individually. The decline in numbers seems to have stalled somewhat after a dramatic drop in recent years. Experts are optimistic about how a combined effort incorporating e cigarette use and LSSS services will help more smokers to stop smoking, which in turn will drop smoking rates further.