With October coming up you may be aware of the Stoptober campaign that aims to get smokers to kick the habit. The aim of the campaign is to improve public health and reduce the chances of people contracting smoking related illnesses. Part of Stoptober is offering suggestions and resources to help people quit, but for the first-time e-cigarettes are being promoted as a way to help quit cigarettes. So, what’s caused the change in approach?

e-cigarettesWhy Were E-Cigarettes Previously Shunned?

This promotion of e-cigarettes marks a first for a Public Health England (PHS) campaign explicitly promoting the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to cigarettes. Previously, health officials have avoided endorsing the absolute safety of the products. This is due to them still being a relatively new product and there are no comprehensive studies that can definitively establish what will happen after years of use. Nevertheless, the decision by Public Health England to officially endorse it as a smoking alternative shows a growing confidence in their safety.

Why the Change in Policy on E-Cigarettes?

The influx of e-cigarettes has shown to be an enormously effective means of quitting smoking. So much so that during last year’s Stoptober campaign e-cigarettes were recorded as the most popular method of quitting – 53% of those taking part used them. Considering that last e-cigarettes were not officially endorsed, it shows the potential for getting more people off smoking when they are actively encouraged to use the alternative device.

There is also the opportunity for the Stoptober campaign to capitalise on the growth of ‘vaping’ culture. Many of us have noticed the introduction of ‘vape shops’ on our local high streets and it seems this sub-culture is permeating into the mainstream. The young, trendy appearance of vaping is drawing others to move away from cigarettes, by adding the encouragement of an official health authority, those who were previously unsure may now take the plunge.

What Makes E-Cigarettes So Effective for Quitting?

The main reason e-cigarettes are an effective method of quitting normal cigarettes is because they still give a hit of nicotine. However, the vast majority of harmful chemicals found in cigarettes – like tar and carbon monoxide – are not present. This makes an e-cigarette a far less harmful activity while maintaining the relief of nicotine, which is what causes people to become addicted to smoking. This doesn’t make it risk free, but the drawbacks are much more minor in comparison.e-cigarettes

However, e-cigarettes do more than just provide a chemical fix. The habitual nature of smoking – such as holding a cigarette or the social aspect – is often as hard to give up as the drug itself. An e-cigarette keeps these more tactile aspects of the habit that have become ingrained, something that patches a gum can’t provide. Being able to maintain a ‘smoker’s lifestyle’ without as much of a health risk can go a long way in helping people to quit smoking altogether.

If you are considering taking up e-cigarettes in place of smoking then consult you GP or pharmacist for more information, or visit the Stoptober campaign page here.