Smokers are being urged to quit the habit in the New Year as new video shows damaging affects.
Fresh and North East GP Dr Chris Tasker are urging North East smokers to quit for New Year – with a clear message that vaping has fewer harmful chemicals than tobacco if they switch to an e-cigarette.
It comes as Public Health England (PHE) has released a new film showing the devastating harms from smoking and how these can be avoided by switching to an e-cigarette or using another type of quit aid.
Around 2.5 million adults are using e-cigarettes in England and they have helped thousands of people successfully quit – but many smokers (44%) still either wrongly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or don’t know that vaping poses much lower risks to health (22% respectively).
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “At least one in two long term smokers, are going to die from an avoidable smoking related illness.
“We’re encouraging smokers to try and make a quit attempt at least once a year – and New Year is a great time to give it a go and make this time the one you quit for good. There’s lots of help out there for people thinking about stopping smoking, including vaping which is at least 95% less harmful than smoking.
“Electronic cigarette products are now the country’s most popular quitting aid, and we need to support anyone using them to stay tobacco free.”
Dr Chris Tasker, CRUK Strategic GP for the Northern Cancer Alliance, said: “Smoking is one of the things I see a lot of in my job. It can have a big impact on a person’s health, including lung diseases and COPD, as well as many different types of cancer. When someone starts smoking, they often won’t see the consequences until later in life when the real problems start.
“There is still a lot of confusion surrounding vaping as many people believe it is as harmful as smoking, when in fact vaping poses much lower risks to someone’s health. I regularly get asked questions by my patients – is vaping safe? Is it safer than smoking? My response to them is that smoking is the worst thing you can do for your health and vaping is much less harmful. Lots of my patients who’ve had trouble trying to quit for years and years, have managed to stop with the help of an e-cigarette.
“The advice I give my patients is that stopping smoking is the best thing they can do for their health. There are much fewer chemicals in vaping than in cigarettes, so it is far less harmful than smoking and can be helpful to people who might otherwise struggle to quit.”
Public Health England’s film features smoking expert Dr Lion Shahab and Dr Rosemary Leonard carrying out an experiment to visually demonstrate the high levels of cancer- causing chemicals and tar inhaled by an average smoker over a month, compared to not smoking or using an e-cigarette. Research estimates that while not risk-free, vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking.
Dr Lion Shahab, leading smoking cessation academic from University College London, said: “The false belief that vaping is as harmful as smoking could be preventing thousands of smokers from switching to e-cigarettes to help them quit. I hope this illustrative experiment helps people see the huge damage caused by smoking that could be avoided by switching to an e-cigarette. Research we and others have conducted shows that vaping is much less harmful than smoking and that using e-cigarettes on a long-term basis is relatively safe, similar to using licensed nicotine products, like nicotine patches or gum. Using e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement such as patches or gum will boost your chances of quitting successfully.”
Public Health England’s Personal Quit Plan is a quick, free and easy-to-use digital tool to help smokers find the right support to help them quit, taking into account how much they smoke and any quitting support used previously.
Search ‘Smokefree’ to find the best way to quit smoking for you this New Year.