Vaping: what you need to know

No matter what age you decide to quit or how long you’ve been smoking, it is never too late to stop. Vaping products might help you quit for good. In this blog post, we answer your questions to help you make an informed choice.

My dad smoked all his life and didn’t get cancer. Why should I stop?

The best thing you can do for your health is to stop smoking completely and for good. There are lots of health benefits, from being able to breathe more easily to lowering your risk of lung cancer.

According to the NHS, within 72 hours of quitting your breathing will feel easier and your energy will increase.

After a few weeks, your blood circulation will have improved, and after a few months any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will have started to improve as your lung function increases.

After a year your risk of heart attack will have halved compared with a smoker’s, and after 10 years your risk of death from lung cancer will have halved.

By quitting you’re not just lowering your risk of lung cancer. You will also be lowering your risk of 14 other types of smoking-related cancer including mouth, nose, neck, oesophageal, stomach, kidney, bowel, liver and bladder cancer.
 

How can vaping products help me quit smoking?

Vaping products are the most popular stop smoking aid in England. To date, they have supported 57 000 people to quit for good. They have gained in popularity because they feel similar to cigarettes and involve hand-to-mouth movement which allows people to continue this particular habit whilst working to break nicotine addiction.

Research suggests that vaping products are more effective at supporting people to stop smoking than other stop smoking aids such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), which includes nicotine patches and chewing gum. One trial of English stop smoking services found that smokers using vaping products were nearly twice as likely to stop smoking as those using NRT.

Ultimately, you should choose whichever method works best for you. You may find that you need to use a combination of stop smoking aids such as a vaping products, stop smoking medicines and/or patches to help you to quit.

Smokers who received support from their local stop smoking service are three times as likely to stop smoking successfully compared to those who try to quit through willpower alone. These services can provide you with the information and support you need to make a choice that is right for you.
 

Will I just be swapping one nicotine addiction for another?

Tobacco cigarettes are the most addictive form of nicotine. This is because they are deliberately designed to deliver nicotine in an efficient and effective way that keeps people hooked.

While highly addictive, nicotine is not the cause of smoking-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease. Almost all the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of chemicals in tobacco smoke, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. This is the reason why inhaling tobacco smoke is so damaging – it delivers contaminated nicotine. Getting nicotine from cigarettes is like getting water straight from the sewer.

Using vaping products means you can consume nicotine in a cleaner and less harmful way. By gradually reducing the strength of nicotine in your vaping product, you can eventually stop using nicotine altogether.
 

Is it okay to smoke and vape at the same time?

Smoking and vaping at the same time won’t make your health worse but you won’t feel the full benefit unless you stop smoking tobacco completely. This is because you will still be inhaling the thousands of toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke. Any level of smoking can increase your risk of smoking-related disease. Stopping smoking completely and for good is best for your health.
 

I’ve heard that vaping products are just as expensive as smoking. How much will it cost me to switch?

The cost of vaping products can vary, but generally they're much cheaper than cigarettes. The Independent Vape Trade Association says that switching from a 20-cigarette-per-day smoking habit to vaping could save a person thousands of pounds each year.

You can expect to pay around £20 for a good quality, and easy to use, refillable starter kit. More advanced vaping products for the adventurous or experienced user can range from £30 to several hundred pounds.

Once you have your starter kit, day-to-day costs include e-liquid to refill your tank and replacement coils. Coils will usually last about two weeks, depending on the type, and cost just a few pounds each. E-liquids start at £3.00 for 10 ml and, as a rough guide, a 20-a-day smoker is likely to consume around two 10ml bottles of 18mg/ml e-liquid a week. 

Your local vape shop will be able to help you choose the best type of device for your needs and guide you through choosing the best liquids to get you started.
 

There are so many different types of vaping products to choose from. Where do I begin?

 A rechargeable vaping product with a refillable tank delivers nicotine more effectively and quickly than a disposable model and is likely to give you a better chance of quitting smoking. If you're a lighter smoker, you could try a cigalike, vape pen or pod system. If you're a heavier smoker, it's advisable to try a vape pen, pod system or mod.  Either way, it’s down to personal preferences.

You may need to try a few different types of vaping products to find out what works best for you, but this is quite normal. A specialist vape shop and/or your local stop smoking service can help find the device that’s right for you.
 

I am pregnant, can I use vaping products to help me stop smoking? 

There is limited evidence on the safety of using vaping products during pregnancy. However, the evidence from the general adult smoker population suggests that they are likely to be significantly less harmful to a pregnant woman and her baby than continuing to smoke. 

While licensed NRT products such as nicotine patches, gum and inhalers are the recommended option, if you choose to use a vaping product and it helps you to stop smoking and stay smoke free, then you should continue to do so.

 

Find out more about vaping here, including the key facts and findings from experts and leading researchers.

For information and advice about quitting smoking, contact your local stop smoking service. You can find a list of them here.

 

References

NHS (2020). Quit Smoking. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/  [Last accessed March 2021]

Brown, K. F. et al., (2018). The fraction of cancer attributable to modifiable risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom in 2015. British Journal of Cancer, 118, pp. 1130-1141. 

Beard, E., West, R., Michie, S., and Brown, J. (2020). Association of prevalence of electronic cigarette use with smoking cessation and cigarette consumption in England: a time–series analysis between 2006 and 2017. Addiction, 115, pp. 961– 974.

Hartmann-Boyce, J., McRobbie, H., Lindson, N. et al., (2020). Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (10). Art. No.: CD010216.

Hajek, P. et al., (2019) A randomized trial of e-cigarettes versus nicotine-replacement therapy. New England Journal of Medicine, 380 (7), p. 629-637.

West, R. and Papadakis, S. (2019) Stop smoking services: increased chances of quitting. London. Available from: https://www.ncsct.co.uk/usr/pub/Stop%20smoking%20services%20effectiveness.pdf [Last accessed May 2020].

Royal College of Physicians (2016). Nicotine without smoke, Tobacco harm reduction: A report by the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians. Available from: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/nicotine-without-smoke-tobacco-harm-reduction [Last accessed August 2020].

Independent British Vape Trade Association (2020) Vaping FAQs. Available from: https://www.ibvta.org.uk/vaping-faqs/ [Last accessed March 2021]

National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (2016) Electronic Cigarettes: A briefing for stop smoking services. Available from: https://www.ncsct.co.uk/usr/pub/Electronic_cigarettes._A_briefing_for_stop_smoking_services.pdf [Last accessed March 2021]

Royal College of Midwives (2019). Position Statement Support to Quit Smoking in Pregnancy. Available from: https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/3394/support-to-quit-smoking-in-pregnancy.pdf [Last accessed June 2020].

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