Electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, e-cigs or vapours- call them what you will, their popularity has dramatically increased over the past few years. If you’re looking to quit this New Year, this stop smoking aid could really help. From what's in them to where you can use them, our Healthy Lifestyle Practitioner Sarah Holbrey answers your most common questions.
(E-cigarettes aren't currently available on NHS prescription but they can be bought in pharmacies and other retail outlets)
Despite the name, they're not cigarettes and they don’t burn any tobacco. Instead, these battery-powered devices heat up an ‘e-liquid’ made up of nicotine, glycerol, flavourings and water that users inhale.
E-cigarettes are around 95% safer than smoking tobacco. It’s important that smokers switching to e-cigarettes are aware that different e-liquids contain various levels of nicotine, so they can find levels that will satisfy their cravings. Although nicotine is addictive, it doesn’t cause all the damaging health effects associated with smoking tobacco, which has over 4000 chemicals.
E-cigarettes have become the most popular quitting aid in the past few years, overtaking traditional forms of treatment such as nicotine patches. National data from 2014-15 showed that using an e-cigarette alongside support from an NHS stop smoking service had some of the highest quit rates.
The use of e-cigarettes in public places is not regulated nationally, though bans are in place in some establishments. Therefore, it’s best to check whether you can use yours indoors or not.
E-cigarettes release tiny amounts of nicotine into the environment, and no health risks to bystanders (for example passive vaping) have been identified.
E-cigarettes come in a variety of shapes, designs and functions. Early models on the market were made to look like a cigarette, whilst the newer models look similar to pens, or can have a refillable tank.
According to the latest data, about 2.6 million people in the UK use e-cigarettes. Of these, around two thirds are current smokers, with most of the remaining third being used by ex-smokers. There is, as yet, no data to support the fear that non-smokers are beginning to use e-cigarettes as a gateway to conventional cigarettes.
Prices vary according to the type of device you use- for example £20 for one of the earlier models, or over £60 for one of the more advanced new ones. After the initial investment, users notice a significant saving as e-liquids cost a fraction of the price of tobacco. It's recommended anybody thinking of buying an e-cigarette goes to a reputable retailer that specialises in them and can offer advice.
There have been concerns about potential fire risk caused by the batteries in e-cigarettes during charging. The general safety advice is not to use unapproved electrical chargers, and to unplug the device once fully charged.
Leeds NHS Stop Smoking Service is a free service open to anyone who would like to stop smoking. Research shows that you are far more likely to be successful in stopping smoking if you combine both treatment and specialist help from us than if you try willpower alone.
We run a variety of sessions, with over 40 clinics across Leeds which include groups, one-to-ones and drop-ins. The sessions provide information about the different types of treatment available, help you to plan and prepare for your quit day and also give expert advice and encouragement whilst you try to stop smoking. You’ll also have your carbon monoxide levels tested before and after you stop.
Tel: 0800 169 4219
Text: SMOKEFREE to 60066
More information is available on the Leeds NHS Stop Smoking Service webiste
This page has been made with the help of Leeds City Council.
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