With Stoptober now upon us and focusing minds on quitting smoking, here’s a look at some recent press coverage…
In August the Independent reported that figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed that the number of people using NHS services to help give up cigarettes fell by 19 per cent over the last year. Anti-smoking campaigners suggested that this may be because more smokers are turning to electronic cigarettes to help them quit instead. Later in September the University College London’s Smoking Toolkit Study claimed that for every million smokers who switch to e-cigarettes, more than 6,000 lives a year could be saved (source: BBC News).
On the other hand, new research reported in The Telegraph raise doubts about the potential benefits of e-cigarettes for helping people to give up smoking and found that those using the products were likely to have more failed attempts than those who did not use them. The Times reported that public health experts fear that e-cigarettes are being seen as “cool or trendy” and may encourage teenagers to start smoking real ones. The Guardian agreed that strong action may be needed to stop young people seeing e-cigarettes as cool and glamorous, as some could then start smoking real cigarettes as a result.
There is still work to be done to understand the impact of e-cigarettes on behaviour, and to ensure that all the hard work that’s been done over decades to save lives by reducing smoking isn’t undone by ‘vaping’, particularly amongst young people. At the moment there seems to be little hard data about e-cigarettes, their impact on people’s health or their appeal to non-smokers.
You can find out more about mruk research’s public health research here.