Relevant Vapes may cause some health risks, but we don’t know all the risks. It makes anxiety and depression worse, and can affect memory, concentration, self-control, and attention. It also increases the risk of developing addictions to other substances.
Poisonings, fires and explosions have been reported in the US. Some are caused by mechanical modifiable tank devices that do not have built-in safety features.
Vaping as a smoking cessation tool
Vaping is a popular smoking cessation tool, but there’s not enough evidence on how effective it is. It’s important to remember that vaping is not a magic cure for nicotine addiction, and it will still take some work to quit. In addition, there are some risks associated with using e-cigarettes. If you want to stop smoking, talk with your doctor about how vaping can help you. They can advise you on the best devices and nicotine strengths for your needs. In addition, they can provide extra support and guidance to help you quit smoking.
It is important to note that a large number of smokers who switch to vaping do not remain abstinent from cigarettes. However, those who do successfully quit have a much lower risk of experiencing serious health complications. This is because e-cigarettes deliver nicotine in a more controlled way than cigarettes, which are notorious for their high levels of harmful chemicals.
According to the latest Cochrane review (November 2022), there is limited evidence that vaping helps adults quit smoking, but it does appear to be significantly less harmful than smoking. In addition, there is some evidence that a switch to vaping reduces the frequency of exacerbations for people with COPD. However, further controlled studies with adequate sample sizes, non-user comparison groups and longer exposure and follow-up times are needed to clarify these findings.
For many people, it can be difficult to quit smoking. It may be because they are used to the ritual of lighting and inhaling a cigarette, or because smoking provides them with social interactions that they miss. A personalised approach, with the support of friends and family, is often helpful. It’s also worth considering the use of nicotine replacement therapies to help you give up smoking. These include patches and gum, which mimic the hand-to-mouth action of smoking, and can be used in conjunction with a personalised e-cigarette kit to maximise success.
The current regulation of ENDS is inconsistent, and it needs to be further tightened. This will ensure that they are only available to adult smokers who have tried other evidence-based methods of smoking cessation, such as counselling and prescription aids. It will also help to ensure that these products do not encourage new users, especially young people.
Vaping as a smoking cessation aid
The evidence shows that using a regulated vaping device with expert help can be as effective as other smoking cessation aids and helps more people quit compared to just trying to stop by themselves. It also reduces exposure to toxicants and carcinogens compared to smoking. However, it’s important to note that not all devices are safe and if you experience side effects then we recommend seeking advice from a health practitioner or specialist vape retailer. It is also important to report any safety concerns to the Yellow Card Scheme website.
Many smokers find it hard to quit because of the routine and rituals associated with smoking, so vaping can be a good way to gradually let go of the habit while still reducing risks to your health. While quitting is the best option, research suggests that reducing your tobacco consumption by switching to vaping can significantly lower your risk of lung disease and early death.
Vaping involves heating a liquid solution (e-liquid) that typically contains propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavourings and nicotine to create a vapour that is inhaled by the user. E-liquids are available in a range of nicotine strengths, from high to low. Nicotine itself isn’t very harmful and has been used safely in medicines to assist with quitting smoking for a number of years.
There is a growing misperception that vaping poses a greater risk to users’ health than smoking, but this is unfounded. The UK and US expert reviews have consistently shown that, while not risk-free, e-cigarettes are far less harmful than cigarettes.
A recent meta-analysis from the University of Queensland found that e-cigarettes were slightly more effective than other NRT, such as patches and gum, in helping participants to quit smoking. However, the authors of this study noted that the benefit may be modest and more studies are needed.
Getting help from your local stop smoking service will increase the likelihood of successfully quitting, as they can provide advice on the right device and nicotine strength for you, as well as extra support to make it stick. They can also recommend a specialist vape retailer that you can visit to get the right kit for you.
Vaping as a smoking cessation strategy
In recent years, the use of electronic vaporising devices (EVDs) has grown rapidly in the UK, especially among young people. Despite this, the evidence on their effectiveness as smoking cessation tools is mixed. While some studies suggest that EVDs can help people quit smoking, others argue that vaping is as harmful as cigarette smoking. Nevertheless, some studies also show that EVDs can provide a less harmful alternative to smoking and can help reduce nicotine addiction and cravings. This report aims to review the evidence on EVDs and their effects, including those of long-term use and on health outcomes. It is the eighth in a series of independent reports originally commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) and now published by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities within the Department of Health and Social Care.
The first and foremost reason that many smokers start to vape is for harm reduction and quitting-related reasons. However, misperceptions about the relative risk of e-cigarettes and smoked tobacco continue to grow. In the 2019 ASH-Y survey, 38% of smokers and 15% of non-smokers believed that regulated nicotine vaping products were more harmful than smoked tobacco.
There are some studies suggesting that e-cigarettes can be helpful for smokers trying to stop smoking, but more research is needed. A Cochrane review in 2022 found that those who used a combination of nicotine vaping products and behavioural support were 49% more likely to be abstinent at six months than those who used only a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) product, like patches or gum.
A small proportion of those who try to quit smoking with e-cigarettes will relapse into cigarette smoking. This is because the process of switching from cigarette to vaping is difficult and may be accompanied by cravings for a cigarette.
This is why we recommend that any smoker considering using an e-cigarette to quit smoking seeks expert advice from their local Stop Smoking Service. They will be able to offer advice on the best device and nicotine strength, how to use it, plus additional support. In addition, they can offer a range of free starter kits. We have seen that when smokers use a local stop smoking service to help them quit, they are significantly more likely to be successful.
Vaping as a smoking cessation risk factor
Vaping has been promoted as a smoking cessation tool. However, research to date has not shown that it is effective in helping smokers quit, and may even be a risk factor for smoking relapse. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that e-cigarettes are associated with a high rate of new smoking addictions in teenagers and young adults. This raises concerns that promoting the use of these products as a smoking cessation aid could actually promote the use of tobacco rather than other, less harmful, products.
Studies of the impact of vaping on health need more follow-up, with longer observational periods than those used to date. This will allow more accurate comparisons with the long-term effects of smoking. It will also help to determine whether changes in vaping behaviours are likely to affect the prevalence of other unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as poor diet or excessive alcohol use.
The results of a large survey of 721 young people aged 14 to 17 years suggest that younger people are increasingly using nicotine vaping products, especially flavoured ones. These are widely available and accessible through both social media and commercial channels. The surveys did not measure the exact type of product or concentration of nicotine used, but the vast majority of participants reported using a product with freebase nicotine. One study using impulse oscillometry indicated that short-term exposure to vapor containing nicotine has a negative effect on lung function. But the results are largely confounded by including smokers in the study groups and the studies use very different techniques for measuring lung function.
Nicotine-containing e-liquids and their flavourings can change gene expression and lead to a range of adverse health outcomes in cells, but at a much lower level than that seen with exposure to tobacco smoke. This is a result of the complex mixture of chemicals found in vaping liquids. It is important to distinguish between these compounds and to take into account other factors such as dose, cell type, and duration of exposure.
The new NICE guidance on tobacco suggests that stop smoking services should support all smokers to stop, including those who want to use vaping products. This will reduce the harms caused by tobacco and vaping, and increase the likelihood of success in stopping smoking. It should also encourage the use of a range of quit support interventions, including the use of e-cigarettes.