Posted 29th September 2016 by Dave Cross
According to the latest figures, released as Public Health England (PHE) announces the start of a new Stoptober, UK smoking rates have dropped to a record low. Even better, the wonderful news is accentuated by the fact that vaping is being given the credit for driving down the numbers still clutching on to their cigarettes.

Current smokers are being urged to join the ranks that have successfully quit by taking part in PHE’s Stoptober, a mass quit challenge starting on October 1st. PHE say: “Last year, out of the 2.5 million smokers who made a quit attempt, 500,000 people (20%) were successful; the highest recorded success rate and up from just 13.6% 6 years ago. In England there are now twice as many ex-smokers (14.6 million people), than current smokers (7.2 million).”

Professor Kevin Fenton said: “Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable early death in England, accounting for over 78,000 deaths a year. Quitters will soon see they have reduced blood pressure, easier breathing and better circulation. Stopping smoking is the best thing a smoker can do to improve their health.” These are the results vapers on the POTV forum noted when they made the switch, and was mirrored in Stealthvape’s recent efficacy survey.

Dr Gina Radford, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, commented: “While we know that quitting smoking is not easy, this Stoptober is a perfect time to try again. The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to stop smoking. There is more help and support available now than ever before. The introduction of standardised packs removes the glamorous branding and brings health warnings to the fore and e-cigarettes, which many smokers find helpful for quitting, are now regulated to assure their safety and quality.”

On Rachel Burden’s 5Live phone in, cricketer Phil Tuffnel announced his decision to join in the mass quit attempt and welcomed the news that many managed it thanks to vaping. The BBC news site reports: “More than a million people said they vaped as they tried to quit.”

It continues: “The biggest decreases in smoking over the last four years were seen in the South West (18.7% to 15.5%), the North East (22% to 18.7%) and Yorkshire & Humber (21.9% to 18.6%). At the same time, prescriptions for smoking cessation aids, such as patches and gum have gone down, while sales of e-cigarettes have gone up.”

Cotton & Cable

Simon Clark, director of Forest, bemoaned: “Quit smoking campaigns like Stoptober are a waste of public money because smokers don't need the state to help them quit. Smokers who want to stop are increasingly using free market solutions like e-cigarettes that cost the public nothing.”

Back to the 5Live phone in, Paul in Warrington advocating the use of a Stop Smoking service added: “We don’t know how dangerous it (vaping) is, but there’s a place for it. I’m not here to endorse e-cigs, but they have a part to play.”

A text to the show, from Chris in Lewis, said: “I’ve been off the cigs for three years now, I smoked an ounce of tobacco a day. I tried everything, it didn’t work, but then I discovered e-cigs by mistake and my asthma has not affected me for two years. My daughters tell me I smell of strawberries. A word of advice – don’t buy the cheap ones. I’ve discovered a new interest in electrical resistances and build my own coils and I make my own fluids.”

Sarah Jakes, a trustee of the New Nicotine Alliance, added: “Vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. People will say we can’t say it [vaping] definitely caused this drop [in smoking], but at the same time the smoking rates have been plummeting e-cigarette use has been increasing. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”   

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker