Key references discussed in the episode:
- Action on Smoking and Health. Fears of growth in children vaping disposables backed up by new national survey. 7 July 2022.
- Action on Smoking and Health. Facts at a glance. April 2021.
- NICE CKS. Smoking cessation. September 2021.
- NICE. Recommendations on treating tobacco dependence. In: Tobacco: preventing uptake, promoting quitting and treating dependence (NG209). 30 November 2021.
- Cancer Research UK. RCGP and CRUK joint position statement on e-cigarettes. 8 July 2020.
Key take-home points:
- Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable death and ill health in the UK with over 80,000 smokers dying from their habit annually.
- One in two smokers will die from a smoking-related illness, and for every death caused by smoking, 20 smokers will suffer from a smoking-related disease.
- Every cigarette smoked takes around 11 minutes off a smoker’s life,
- NICE has said that licensed nicotine-containing products are an effective way of reducing the harm from tobacco for both the person smoking and those around them.
- E-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of conventional cigarettes, whose main harm comes not from the nicotine they contain but from the toxins and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke.
- Public perception on e-cigarettes is often incorrect, with many people believing that these are as harmful as (or even more harmful than) traditional cigarettes.
- Many ingredients found in vaping products have been shown to be safe when given orally, but absorption and metabolism mechanisms differ when inhaled.
- In the UK, vaping among children aged 11–17 is up from 4% in 2020 to 7% in 2022.
- It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, but the most common source of supply for underage vapers continues to be shops.
- Unlicensed black market vaping products are widely available to the retail sector and members of the public.
- Current NICE advice is that we should tell people who smoke that a range of interventions is available to help them stop smoking.
- This includes behavioural interventions, medication such as bupropion and varenicline, and nicotine replacement treatments including nicotine-containing e-cigarettes.
- The best smoker is unequivocally a quit smoker, free from all tobacco- or nicotine-containing products.