The authors say: “Healthcare professionals have an important role to play in ensuring that people who smoke have accurate information about vaping founded upon evidence.
“But we also need to remember to ask questions of, and listen to, people who vape and this briefing carries this message alongside reviewing the evidence on effectiveness and safety of vaping, and addressing some of the issues that have been raised about the use of vapes.
“Vaping has a role in helping people who smoke to quit, reduce the harm from smoking, and manage temporary abstinence.”
The Guide was authored by Andy McEwen, Hayden McRobbie, Louise Ross and Kirstie Soar. Lynne Dawkins, Jamie Hartmann Boyce and Caitlin Notley acted as contributors. It was reviewed by Jamie Brown, Chris Bullen, Hazel Cheeseman, Nicky Coote, Dave Cross, Martin Dockrell, Peter Hajek, Wayne Hall, Yvonne Hermon, Sarah Jakes, Catherine Kimber, Joanne Locker, Sophia Papadakis, and Julia Robson.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Primary Care and Public Health, Neil O'Brien said: “Everyone agrees that we must do more to prevent ill health in the first place – not just treat it afterwards. Cutting smoking is one of the most effective and evidence-based interventions that we can take.
“We have already got smoking initiation rates down to record low levels. Yet smoking continues to cause another death in England every 8 minutes. Another hospital admission every minute. Now we must help smokers to quit in larger numbers than ever before.”
He continued: “I am enormously proud of the leadership that England has shown in supporting smokers to quit, first in building the evidence for expert behavioural support and most recently in embracing new opportunities to help smokers quit that puts us firmly on their side as they transform their lives. The National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training has been at the forefront of this work in England and around the world.
“This is especially true on our work on vaping where our policy has two goals – sometimes in tension but never in conflict – to maximise the opportunities to help smokers to quit smoking whilst preventing young people and non-smokers from starting vaping. They are never in conflict because they share the ultimate mission of reducing harm and improving health.”
Neil O'Brien MP OBE concluded by stating: “The science shows us that vaping can help smokers to quit, at least as effectively as the other approaches at our disposal. While they are not risk-free, the science also shows that when used for smoking cessation for up to two years, they are no more hazardous than licensed medicines. That is why, in April this year, we announced a world-first, a plan to provide one million smokers in England with a vape to help them quit smoking.
“It won’t be enough just to hand out vapes indiscriminately. To give smokers the best chance of quitting – and to make informed choices about when to stop vaping – we depend on well-trained, well-informed professionals. That is why I commend this guide to you and why I thank you for the vital lifesaving work you do every day.”