Nurses Educated About Vaping

Posted 17th June 2020 by Dave Cross
Louise Ross, former stop-smoking service manager at Leicester City Council, now a freelance smoking cessation consultant and Deputy Chair of the New Nicotine Alliance, maps out the role vaping can play in smoking cessation for the readers of Nursing Times.

Nursing Times publishes articles “to help nurses to improve their practice, kept them up to date with news on nursing and healthcare policy and practice, and supported them in their career development.”

Last week saw Louise Ross’ final piece published, number 5 of a 5-part series. Her articles have covered interventions to support attempts at quitting, supporting older people to quit, supporting people with mental health conditions, young people, and people awaiting or recovering from surgery.

Louise was attempting to educate front line staff, but also conscious of the research showing that many of them hold reservations about vaping or are opposed to it entirely.

Safety questions have been raised about vaping,” Louise wrote, “but it remains the most-popular and most-effective way of stopping smoking in the UK. At least one NHS trust has opened a vape shop on its sites to help smokers – be they patients, staff or visitors – to comply with the trust’s smoke-free policy.”

People who smoke tobacco become dependent on nicotine but die from the tar and carbon monoxide in the tobacco, so using a device that provides clean nicotine with no smoke is similar to using NRT.”

She noted that the Royal College of Nursing states, “that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking and it has, therefore, been endorsed by Public Health England, ASH, Cancer Research UK, the Royal College of Physicians, the NCSCT and other bodies as an intervention to stop smoking. In light of this guidance, nurses should be encouraging of any patient who shows an interest in vaping to stop smoking.

A combination of behavioural support and products that ease the transition between smoking and quitting, is the gold-standard treatment in stop-smoking services and has been shown to be up to three times more successful than an unassisted quit attempt.”

“Nurses may encounter patients who have just started using vaping devices or have been using them for years. The popularity of these devices means it is worth considering how they fit into the pre- and post-operative pathway. The evidence to date has not identified any major concerns about the use of electronic cigarettes around surgery and, although vaping is not completely risk free, it carries a fraction of the risk of smoking and is helping thousands of smokers to quit and stay smoke-free. Nurses should, therefore, feel confident about encouraging patients to try or to continue with vaping, if it allows them to be smoke-free.”


  • Smoking cessation 1: interventions to support attempts at quitting – [link]
  • Smoking cessation 2: supporting older people to quit – [link]
  • Smoking cessation 3: supporting people with mental health conditions – [link]
  • Smoking cessation 4: young people – [link]
  • Smoking cessation 5: people awaiting or recovering from surgery – [link]

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