Health & Studies

New CRUK Report

Cancer Research UK has released a report detailing worrying levels of ignorance about vaping within nurses and doctors

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Cancer Research UK has conducted a cross-sectional survey of nurses and GPs across the UK. While the positive noises being made should be welcomed, some will be scratching their heads at the remaining level of ignorance about vaping within nursing and GP circles.

“E-cigarettes are a new technology that provides both a challenge and an opportunity for the future of tobacco control. While they should not be used by people who don’t smoke, many people who smoke find them to be useful for helping them move away from tobacco, and currently they are the most frequently used tool for smoking cessation in the UK,” says Dr Richard Roope in the editorial.

On the report, he adds: “Primary care clinicians generally feel uncomfortable advising on e-cigarettes, and feel they lack sufficient knowledge on them. This suggests a need to inform and better train our clinicians, as well as develop more thorough and better sign- posted guidance on e-cigarettes and the evidence surrounding them.”

CRUK’s findings:

  • 3 in 10 clinicians say that the topic of e-cigarettes is raised in the majority of conversations about smoking
  • Over 1 in 3 clinicians are unsure if e-cigarettes are safe enough to recommend as a quit tool to patients who smoke
  • 1 in 3 are unsure whether e-cigarettes are addictive
  • 3 in 5 clinicians said “we do not know enough about them, so I don’t endorse them”
  • 2 in 5 said they would feel uncomfortable recommending e-cigarettes to their patients who smoke
  • 1 in 6 clinicians said they would never recommend using e-cigarettes to patients who smoke

CRUK recommends that healthcare professionals support the use of e-cigarettes as an aid to stop smoking. Plus, obviously, there should be an improvement in the communication and dissemination of consistent, evidence-based messages about e-cigarettes to primary healthcare professionals.

This being said, CRUK has been behind such moves to educate practitioners. Last year, Roope and Professor Linda Bauld fronted a video where they set out the basic facts. Maybe the issue isn’t the quality of the information, it’s that GPs and nurses simply aren’t paying attention to it?

Dr Richard Roope and Professor Linda Bauld discuss the RCGP position statement on e-cigarettes

CRUK respond to this point by saying “governments, the health service, professional bodies and non-government organisations should more effectively signpost clinicians to clinical guidance on e-cigarettes.”

To that end, “All smoking cessation education and training programmes in the UK should incorporate evidence-based information and guidance about a range of smoking cessation interventions and tools, including e-cigarettes.”


  • “E-cigarettes and primary care: A cross-sectional survey of nurses and GPs across the UK.” Anne Ferrey, Benjamin Fletcher, Timothy Coker, Sarah Bullock, Alizee Froguel, Jake Harrison, Jyotsna Vohra, Paul Aveyard. 2019 – [link]
  • Advice for GPs, POTV, 2018 – [link]
Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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