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Vaping and tobacco harm reduction news from the United Kingdom

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In latest vaping and tobacco harm reduction news from the United Kingdom, the Northeast combats the £887 million a year cost of smoking, a newly qualified Essex dentist launches a broadside on vaping, a Preston company conducts a trial at petrol station sites, and research looks at how receptive clinicians and patients are to a harm reduction approach to quitting smoking.

Tobacco use in the Northeast costs the region £2.5 million per day as 326,000 smokers add to the burden that nationally causes:

  • 33,355 hospital admissions
  • 1.2m GP consultations
  • 695,000 GP prescriptions
  • 413,000 practice nurse consultations
  • Over 224,700 outpatient visits

Total costs to the region have been estimated at:

  • County Durham - £211.87m
  • Gateshead - £62.01m
  • Newcastle - £91.61m
  • North Tyneside - £57.66m
  • Northumberland - £86.14m
  • South Tyneside - £55.49m
  • Sunderland - £108.1m

This is something that can be addressed by encouraging smokers to switch to vaping, but some vendors are giving harm reduction a bad name by selling to children.

Durham Constabulary has worked alongside Trading Standards to clampdown on traders breaking the law and putting vapes in the hands of kids as young as 12.

In Essex, dentist Onkar Mudhar has a downer on vaping, especially disposable vape bars. Writing to Nature, he says: “E-cigarette exposure can increase the risk for deteriorating periodontal health as well as changes to the oral microbiome. Components of e-cigarette vapour also contain known cytotoxic, genotoxic and carcinogenic properties.”

Hopefully someone from Public Health England or a smoking cessation service can speak with him as he repeats a number of myths and selective facts from studies, particularly where he stokes fear by claiming the number of young people vaping is increasing – contrary to ASH UK/Cancer Research findings.

As healthcare professionals, we have a pivotal role in educating our patients in order to prevent an addiction which may be very difficult to overcome once established,” he finishes. True, but your first duty is to educate yourself, Onkar.

Vape company IVG is conducting a trial with the EG Group, the petrol station retailer. It is supplying its disposable IVG Bar to approximately 370 sites. It will be the only vape product stocked.

Laith Sheena, the sales director at IVG commented: “As forecourt operators, EG Group have paved the way for best in class vape retailing for years now and are constantly evolving their consumer offering. We are delighted to become the exclusive vape brand on the counter, displaying IVG Bar in the most sought-after real-estate across all EG sites for the next 12months.”

Finally, researchers from Oxford and Nottingham universities have looked at “patient and clinician perceptions on e-cigarettes for smoking reduction in UK general practice”.

They write: “Clinicians could promote e-cigarettes for harm reduction to people who smoke but cannot stop, but many clinicians feel uneasy doing so. In a randomised controlled trial (RCT), primary care clinicians offered free e-cigarettes and encouraged people with chronic diseases who were unwilling to stop smoking to switch to vaping. We interviewed clinicians and patients to understand how to adopt harm reduction in routine practice.”

Unfortunately, they discovered “barriers obstructing clinicians and patients from easily accepting e-cigarettes for harm reduction” even after the doctors had been given targeted training. Hopefully this will inform future training so the situation can progress.

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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