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UK Royal College of General Practitioners advises GPs to recommend vaping

Posted on August 31, 2018

The benefits of nicotine vaporisers (e-cigarettes) for smoking cessation should not be ignored while we are waiting for more evidence. Smokers are dying from smoking-related conditions every day. We need to take action now.

This is the view of the prestigious UK Royal College of General Practitioners which has restated its strong endorsement of vaping to help smokers quit. Vaporisers are the most popular quitting aid in the UK, used in one in three quit attempts.

The College view is that 'e-cigarettes are a wide reaching, relatively low-cost opportunity for people to stop smoking'.

The College produced this video today support their Position Statement.

The key messages were

  • The most effective quitting method is a combination of behavioural counselling by a health professional with proven stop-smoking medications.
  • Based on the evidence to date, vaping is a lot less harmful than smoking tobacco.
  • The long term safety profile isn’t known but we do know a lot about them. Research shows switching to vaping does significantly reduce toxicant exposure and carcinogen exposure. But smoking must be ceased completely.
  • The evidence so far that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking isn’t convincing. We know that teens are experimenting with these products. But when you look at the surveys from across the UK, the rate of regular use in teenagers who have never smoked are very low, <1%. Youth smoking rates in the UK continue to decline. If e-cigarettes were a gateway, those trends would be reversed or would stop.
  • The evidence on passive vaping is that it is not harmful...and it is not something we should be overly concerned about
  • The evidence to date suggests that e-cigarettes are more effective than nicotine replacement therapy over-the-counter or willpower alone. They reduce cravings and withdrawal. Smokers report that the behavioural aspects of e-cigarettes are helpful, the hand to mouth action, taking a break to use an e-cigarette.
Related documents

RCGP E-cigarette position statement

Cancer Research UK briefing

'What's the most successful way to stop smoking' poster

E-cigarettes vs smoking evidence poster


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