Psychologists Are Encouraging Vaping
We all know smoking is bad for us – we probably knew that even before we started, and it’s why you’re here on a vaping website, to get help quitting or continuing your quit. But for a sense of scope, scientists estimate that cigarettes will cause as many as a billion deaths worldwide over the course of the 21st century.
Transitioning to vaping, as more and more clinical evidence suggests, is a way to avoid making your own life one of those billion lost. But quitting is tough – a new report from the British Psychological Society finds that while nearly all smokers express a desire to quit and as many as a third attempt to do so every year, few succeed. The group has analyzed different tobacco cessation options, and is now arguing for a greater role of vaping.
“For smokers trying to quit, e-cigarettes are more attractive than traditional smoking cessation methods, such as nicotine replacement therapy, and at least as effective.,” says Dr. Lynne Dawkins, an associate professor at London South Bank University and co-author of the study. “There is also mounting evidence that they are much safer than tobacco smoking. As a consumer product, although most Stop Smoking Services are not currently able to supply these, we recommend that they endorse them and support their use by smokers trying to quit.”
Thirty-three percent of smokers launching quit attempts, their research finds, turn to e-cigarettes as a cessation tool. That’s three times as many people turning to vaping than nicotine replacement therapies like gum or patches (11 percent), drugs like Chantix or Zyban (9 percent), or advice hotlines (less than 5 percent). And while the British government seems to be taking notice, promoting e-cigs in their month-long Stoptober anti-smoking campaign, their counterparts in the US aren’t following suit.
What specifically are psychologists, who have a unique insight into the brain’s processing of addiction, recommending?
First, the Society is calling for more education – 26 percent of Britons erroneously believe that vaping is as harmful or worse than smoking, and this false impression discourages many people from attempting to quit. Stateside the problem is compounded, as government dollars are often used to spread misinformation (see California’s multimillion-dollar “Still Blowing Smoke” campaign).
Next, since vaping is both the most popular quit method and the one most likely to deliver successful results, the study says it should be one of the first recommendations to people considering a quit attempt. The problem is that doctors are practitioners of medicine; as such they’re most likely to believe in a medical cure (and e-liquid companies aren’t showing up in their office handing out free lunches as an enticement to prescribe 15 ml of Snickerdoodle sauce). Many believe in the “all or nothing” approach that refuses to consider vaping as a harm reduction tool because it doesn’t result in complete harm elimination.
The Society also advocates not only for increasing the cost of tobacco products as a means of discouraging use, but actually encouraging lower prices for vape gear to entice more people to give vaping a try. Further, they’re in favor of limiting burdensome regulations in order to “allow e-cigarettes to further evolve and improve so they are safer, more appealing and satisfying for more smokers.”
What a world it would be if regulators here in the US would step up and take notice. In the meantime, check the links above for a full interview with Dr. Dawkins and a copy of the full report.