E-cigarette friendly stop smoking service

Electronic cigarettes are now one of the most popular products amongst smokers trying to quit in England, with approximately 30% of those using a product to help them quit opting for electronic cigarettes.

An expert independent evidence review published by Public Health England (PHE) concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful to health than tobacco and have the potential to help smokers quit smoking. The review found no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers.

The trust’s stop smoking service for Stockton, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland is e-cigarette friendly proactively welcomes anyone who wants to use e-cigarettes as an aide to quit smoking whether concurrently with licensed NRT or alone. E-cigarettes are not licensed and can not provided by the stop smoking service. Current evidence from HSCIC suggests that e-cigarettes combined with behavioural support from a stop smoking advisor is the most effective method of stopping smoking with more than 60% successfully quit at four weeks.

What is an e-cigarette?

An electronic cigarette (e-cig or e-cigarette), vaporizer or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) is a battery powered vaporizer that simulates the feeling of smoking. There are many different types, with some looking like cigarettes and others that are larger pen or pipe like devices. There are disposable and reusable / rechargeable devices.

The liquid in the devices usually contain nicotine suspended in propylene glycol and glycerine. The levels of nicotine can vary with some liquids containing no nicotine, and there is a vast array of different flavourings.

When someone sucks / puffs on the device the atomiser heats the liquid so that it evaporates, this vapour delivers nicotine to the user. There is no side-stream smoke but vapour is released into the air as the user exhales. There is no evidence of harm from second hand vaping.

The Cochrane Library has published an update to the Cochrane Systematic Review of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation.   The review, examined the best quality evidence on e-cigarettes for quitting smoking from around the world.  They found that e-cigarettes were 70% more effective at helping smokers quit than the use of nicotine replacement therapy, currently the most commonly used medication to help smokers quit.  Vaping is much less harmful than continuing to smoke, with the Cochrane Review finding little evidence of short-term harms.

Can people who use e-cigarettes only and have stopped smoking tobacco products still use the service?

No. At present, the stop smoking service is only available to people who smoke tobacco and who are using an e-cigarette or want to use an e-cigarette to help them quit tobacco.

There is suggested duration for e-cigarettes. As with nicotine replacements therapies (NRT), the stop smoking service encourage a 12 week treatment plan where dosage is reduced gradually and ultimately ceased. For those people who have already quit smoking using e-cigarettes and are wanting to stop vaping then we would reassure users that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than tobacco and advise that they reduce the dose at a pace that they feel comfortable.

Can e-cigarettes be used in combination with other stop smoking products?

E-cigarettes can be used in conjunction with other prescribed NRT as part of a combination therapy treatment plan.