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Vaping Recommendations

The British Medical Journal asked experts to comment on vaping for quitting smoking.

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The British Medical Journal asked experts in the public health field to argue for or against recommending electronic cigarettes as a quit tool to smokers. Paul Aveyard (Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford) and Deborah Arnott (Action on Smoking and Health UK) argued in favour of vaping, University of Ottawa’s Kenneth Johnson argued against.

“The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that smokers should be told that many people have found e-cigarettes helpful aids to cessation, and the evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful to health than smoking,” began the pro-ecig pair.

The tale from the UK is quite clear from the multiple studies carried out on the subject: more smokers opt to vape as a method of quitting smoking than choosing to use any other approach. Plus, given the millions who have done it, it is clear that vaping works as a route out of smoking.

But it’s not just quitting, it is also important to remain free from tobacco afterwards and, the pair write, “E-cigarettes seem to double the likelihood of achieving abstinence.”

Aveyard and Arnott point out that vaping is the most popular route despite being more expensive than traditional NRT products – so much so that forums like Planet of the Vapes exist for enthusiasts to discuss it.

The pair pointed out that studies show vaping works and that it applies to dual users as much as those who switch straight over to ecigs. Moreover, “worries about long term dual use of e-cigarettes and combustible tobacco are insufficiently evidenced.”

They rebuff fears of young people who are non-smokers getting into vaping in any sizeable numbers, and point out there’s a stark difference between the independent vape market and Big Tobacco.

Kenneth Johnson’s contribution to the debate is depressingly familiar as he trots out the half-truths and outright lies that originate from Stanton Glantz in California. There’s the ‘vaping keeps people smoking’ lie, the ‘addicting a whole new generation’ lie, the ‘Schrödinger’s Nicotine’ lie that people are both unable to detect it but also becoming addicted to it because it is present in huge quantities, the ‘marketing to teens’ lie, and ‘it causes heart disease’ lie.

All in all, Johnson’s position is shameful – and the confirmation that this is the case comes in the form of the first person to comment on the article: Simon Chapman.

Chapman, like Glantz, is blind to evidence as he sticks resolutely to debunked studies to support his failing case. And, in as clear an indication of failing as you’ll find in a scientific journal, he resorts to ad hominem insults from the get go: “The English tobacco control/smoking cessation community is internationally regarded as utterly, hopelessly smitten with ecigs. It’s become almost cult-like.”

“Internationally regarded” refers to him and a handful of other cranks and zealots.

Sarah Jakes, Chair of the New Nicotine Alliance, responded to Chapman but, given his form, it is highly unlikely he’ll take anything on board from it.

What is clear is that the small-yet-vocal opposition to harm reduction is still unable to comprehend the evidence being presented to them, as they cling on to laughable studies relying on dry burning, dead mice and obscene statistical assumptions.

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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