I’m delighted that Public Health England has reviewed the actual data on vaping and actually come up with a sane and sensible evidence based statement. I’m delighted that they’re telling the truth about the relative risks of vaping versus smoking and have not repeated the nonsense claims so often seen in the media. My warning bells went off when I saw that they want to prescribe them on the NHS like the NRT products I know and loathe.
Firstly, as I have said so often on this blog, vaping is not NRT. Vapers who choose to escape the smoke-quit attempt – relapse heartbreaking cycle by using “secret option three” do not use vaping in the same way as NRT. We are told to use NRT products to work through a “craving”. We have it explained to us that these “cravings” are a result of wanting to smoke, and that they pass in 7 minutes. By using distraction techniques or an NRT product we can get through the “craving” and stay off the lit tobacco. Remember that NRT is about 94% ineffective. All this “doubles your chances of quitting for good” tagline says is that it goes up from about a 3% chance to a 6% chance. No wonder smokers are cynical. Trying to use vaping in this way would not have worked for me. These mythical cravings that I was supposed to be able to stave off like windmills to be tilted at weren’t just cravings. They were a gnawing grinding hunger, a sense of something missing, like a limb, a miserable feeling of loss, of no longer being me. I turned into a brain fugged, depressed, snappy, shrew with the social skills and quality of life of Severus Snape surrounded by dementors.
I needed a direct replacement for smoking that I could enjoy. The flavours, the different set-ups, finding the one that felt best and looked good. The ability to use a vape in the same way that I had smoked – better than smoking for me as it turns out. Regulating it, standardising it, making it medicinal will treat vapers as if they have a disease that needs curing. Not treating us as if we’ve made a valid and reasonable (excuse me while I choke on this swearword) lifestyle choice. Don’t homogenise them, don’t wring every last 0.01% of safety out of them, for the love of all I hold dear don’t standardise them. In short; let them be what they are – a consumer product. Let us choose to use them in the way that works best for us. As Clive Bates says, “What use is a Perfectly safe product that no one wants to use?” and as VIP’s Liam Bryan says:
“At present, vaping is driven by consumer-led demand for new vaping devices and the enormous range of e-juices available. IIf all this innovation is legislated back to drab little medical devices and government approved flavours, as current EU proposals recommend, vaping will lose much of its appeal. The end result will be less smokers turning into vapers, and even current vapers turning back to cigarettes.” [source]
Secondly, don’t shove ecigs and vaping down the throats of smokers. Please don’t attack smokers, who are already demonised and ostracised, with demands for them to switch. Back off. Butt out. Just don’t do it. If vaping had been shoved at me as a quit method while I was a smoker I would have dug my heels in and made rude gestures. Smokers will have the information needed in order to make an informed choice as to whether they want to switch to vaping as soon as the media stop demonising vaping. One of the reasons that vaping has worked so well for me is that it was my choice to switch. I did the research, discovered that vaping could be used as a direct replacement for smoking, and switched. Let this quiet revolution continue with added support. It’s working now; don’t try and fix it.
Lastly, please don’t start guilt tripping successful switchers into nicotine abstinence. We’ve switched, we’ve reduced the harm of the delivery method by at least 95%. We’ve done it by choice and we’re successfully not relapsing to smoking. Again, butt out, back off. Nicotine is not the enemy. You don’t want me vaping for the rest of my life? That really is absolutely none of your business. Once someone is successfully using a harm reduced product there is no need for them to cease use of that product unless they choose to do so. There is no need for them to reduce nicotine levels, unless they choose to do so. My continued use of vaping products is a) because I enjoy them and b) preventing my relapse to smoking. Have you actually read the Carl Phillips study I keep linking to? Please go and read it and understand the logic. One to three months of relapse is the same level of risk as a lifetime vaping; I choose to vape so that I will never relapse.
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Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.