Are the European governments, including the Irish, happy to deny smokers access to flavoured vapes – the one tool that works in their efforts to quit tobacco?
Its success has been confirmed in a recent analysis putting vaping as the most effective tool to help quit tobacco and Sweden’s acknowledgement that vaping contributed to it becoming the first in Europe to become ‘Smoke Free’.
The politicians and other stakeholders appear to avoid these facts and are focused on flavours and recycling disposable vapes.
They appear to be adopting a ‘sorting out the deck chairs on the Titanic’ approach to bring about a Tobacco Free Europe rather than recognizing the need to embrace vaping as a confirmed way to help quit smoking.
Here are three facts about vaping.
The Cochrane analysis, published in September, found that vaping is one of the most effective options currently available for helping smokers quit long-term.
Firstly, the analysis was of 300 studies of more than 150,000 smokers found that smokers who are trying to quit are twice as likely to be successful using vapes rather than using patches, gums and sprays (up to 19 in 100 compared to 9 in 100).
Vaping was also found to help around 14 smokers per 100 quit long-term, compared to 6 in 100 trying to quit without any of the stop-smoking aids studied.
Secondly, Sweden is about to become the first smoke-free country in Europe, because it has embraced reduced-risk products like vapes.
Smoking levels in that country have dropped from 15 percent to 5.6 percent of the population in 15 years, putting it on track to achieve smoke-free status 17 years ahead of the EU’s 2040 target.
Finally, I smoked for over 30 years and could never give up cigarettes, despite warnings from my doctor and both my parents dying from smoke-related illnesses. I tried everything and nothing seemed to work,
A friend who had a similar addiction recommended I try vaping and I have not smoked for over 10 years. My doctor showed me an X-ray of my chest taken two years before I quit and compared it to an X-ray taken a few days before my visit. The results were outstanding. My lungs were clear.
I am one of over 200,000 people in Ireland who vape to quit smoking. The fact that so many in Ireland are benefiting from vaping calls into question some politicians, medics and commentators who ‘surf’ the vaping issue for populist and political reasons.
There seems to be a push in Europe to have flavours and disposable vapes banned to protect young people. This is overlooking and disregarding the true value of vaping in achieving a tobacco free society.
New legislation, which will ban the sale of vaping products to under 18s and the current laws on recycling electric goods will work if they are properly enforced.
Banning flavored vapes and disposable vapes will not work, as a way of stopping teens from using them. It will simply drive vaping underground, with people buying the products online or from unregulated sources, with no guarantee of the content quality of these products. It will also deny thousands of people access to one of the most successful tools in the fight against tobacco.
Vaping is not a gateway for teen smoking. It’s time that stakeholders look at the University College London, which included data on 37,105 participants aged 16-24.It found that while vaping rates have increased over time among young people, total smoking prevalence has fallen.
I ask politicians to remember that the central point about vapes is their success in helping people to give up smoking. I am one of up to 200,000 people who have benefited from them.
Let’s work together and include flavoured vapes as a viable option of smokers trying to quit.