Quitting Smoking in 2018

Posted 2nd January 2018 by Dave Cross
Studies into quitting smoking have led to a diverse range of advice for current smokers. While almost all vapers are successful ex-smokers, vaping is overlooked in many parts of the world – and even banned in some countries. What is the best method for those making their New Year resolution to go smoke free?

Smokers need to be mindful of where the information they read online originates. Planet of the Vapes (POTV) wears its bias openly, we all used vaping to help us escape a tobacco addiction and boast the largest forum in the United Kingdom full of people who have done the same.

Advice coming from the United States invariably is tainted by a strong pharmaceutical industry funded anti-vape agenda. Then, there are organisations such as the American Cancer Society who push a vicious anti-ecig message because of an adherence to a principle of total abstinence. Consequently, vaping is conflated with smoking, included in proposed age limit raises (like the one in Toledo), bans and negative health campaigns.

Other proposals might sound interesting or attractive, but are a long way from being realised. For example, researchers in Kentucky have set up a new company to carry out a pilot study looking at using virtual reality (VR) units to aid smoking cessation.

The BehaVR program hopes to encourage patients to activate healthy behavioural changes through a combination of VR stimulation and supporting counselling. The package takes the participant into a virtual clinic, and offers readable education, visualisation trips through a smoker’s body, and clinical videos. The justification is that one patient using VR went from 20 to 0 cigarettes per day in 2012 – but it’s difficult to see how this combats the physical and physiological addictions to nicotine and smoking behaviour.

The problem for remaining smokers is that most of them are heavy users who have been smoking a long time, tried to quit multiple times and been let down by the inadequacies of traditional products. A failure even acknowledged by some of Big Pharma’s supporters.


John Pierce, a professor at the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Centre, led a study looking into smoking cessation drugs.

“Thirty four percent of people who are trying to quit smoking use pharmaceutical aids and yet most are not successful. The results of randomised trials that tested these interventional drugs showed the promise of doubling cessation rates, but that has not translated into the real world,” said Pierce.

Eric Leas who also took part in the research added: "In these analyses, matching helped reduce bias. Still, we found no evidence that the pharmaceutical cessation aids that we assessed improved the chances of successfully quitting. This was both surprising, given the promise of smoking cessation seen in randomised trials, and disappointing because of the need for interventions to help smokers quit."

What POTV does know is that vaping has been declared to be “at least” 95% safer than smoking by the Royal College of Physicians, Public Health England, The Cochrane Review, and is promoted as a viable quit tool by NHS cessation services. Almost three million people are using vape devices in the UK on a daily basis to cut down or completely switch away from smoking. If you are new to vaping or didn’t find something that worked for you last time, why not pop into our forum and ask a few questions?

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