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Paying The Price Of Not Quitting

Smoking comes at a cost over and above that of just money. Does vaping really help smokers quit?

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Smoking is not just injurious to a person’s health, the financial implications of a habit costing almost £10 a pack (50p per fag) also has a massive impact on lives. Despite campaigns highlighting both of these issues and falling numbers, smoking persists in certain groups of people.

Writing for Voice Of America, Carol Pearson writes: “It's no secret that any type of tobacco use is not healthy. But, for most people, it's hard to quit. That's because most of them started the habit as teenagers.” Traditional nicotine replacement therapies and counselling has failed for these people. Moreover, considering the relative affluence of those involved, the manner with which tobacco has been controlled (through taxation) has had repercussions for the health and well being of those smokers.

According to the Irish Cancer Society, “Women living in poorer communities are more than four-and-a-half times as likely to smoke than those in more affluent communities.” Women with less disposable income are paying an ever-increasing amount for a habit they can’t kick – leaving less cash for healthy food and activities. It is a cycle of punishment that leads to an increase drive to smoke in order to escape.

The Cancer Society recommends Ireland removes the VAT on patches, gums and other products; as well as making nicotine replacement therapies available for free to those who sign up for cessation programmes. This in itself may make the route more affordable but it fails to address the success witnessed through the using of electronic cigarettes as an alternative replacement.

While touting a strongly pro-traditional NRT line, Pearson does admit: “studies show electronic devices can work for some people.” While she writes: “if the government had not started an anti-smoking campaign, “an additional eight million would have died,” she fails to acknowledge that it has failed disadvantaged groups.

BioMed Central interviewed Peter Hajek. The professor at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, is a leading expert on the behavioural and pharmacological treatments associated with giving up smoking.

Vaping offers both the delivery of nicotine and a process that mimics the act of smoking for less cost. Although not safe it is widely held to be in the order of 95% safer than smoking.

E-cigarettes are the most important development so far, not only in the treatment of tobacco dependence, but in tobacco control generally,” said Hajek. “If e-cigarettes are allowed to continue to compete with conventional cigarettes and develop further so that they give more and more smokers what they want from their cigarettes, smoking could virtually disappear.”

The war being waged against electronic cigarettes is taking no prisoners and ignoring all evidence of how well vaping works. The lies being spun about ecigs perpetuates in the media and is being accepted as fact by many reading the articles.

I’m sure that such individuals do not consciously intend to protect the market dominance of cigarettes or to undermine healthier options smokers now have,” adds Hajek, “but this is what they are doing and it does no credit to individuals and organisations that proclaim interest in improving public health.”

He concludes: “If e-cigarettes are allowed to continue evolving and competing with conventional cigarettes, and if medical professionals and the media inform smokers truthfully about their harms relative to smoking, there is a good chance that within the next ten years smoking will be obsolete and some years later, smoking-related death and disease will virtually disappear.”

The eradication of smoking will benefit the poorest in society. Well, for as long as they don’t start collecting shiny mods and atomisers.

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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