Adelaide GP quit smoking with vaping and wants to help others
Posted on August 26, 2020
KEVIN MURPHY is an Adelaide-based GP who quit smoking with vaping. Now he wants to help others do the same thing. He tells his story here.
"I grew up and trained in Ireland and the UK and emigrated to South Australia with my family in 2014 for a lifestyle change. It was a good move, and we are very happy living here.
By the time I arrived in Australia I had been vaping for 3 or 4 years. I was struck by how difficult it was to access nicotine for vaping, compared to what I was used to.
I come from a long line of tobacco users. Everybody in my family smoked. I took it up in my mid-teens and became heavily addicted very quickly. Over the next 15 years or so, there were multiple unfruitful attempts to quit on my part. I used all the available supportive pharmacotherapy at one time or another; nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion and varenicline. Eventually I managed to stop, but relapsed after a couple of years.
I had resigned myself to a lifetime of being a ‘tobacco slave’ when I learned about vaping, so decided to try it as a harm-reduction alternative to tobacco, and I didn’t look back
I never smoked another cigarette after I took up vaping. It ticked all of the boxes for me; it delivered the nicotine, it gave me that ‘throat hit’, it occupied my hands, as well as being far, far less harmful to my health than tobacco.
Immediately on switching from tobacco to vaping I felt my health improve. The beginnings of a smokers’ cough disappeared, I had more energy and started to exercise (whilst not being limited by shortness of breath). I finally ceased vaping at the end of 2019 after gradually my reducing nicotine levels from 18mg/ml to 2mg/ml then quitting. I fervently believe that if I had not switched to vaping, I would still be using tobacco.
I have purchased and consumed nicotine in e-liquid in vape stores in Ireland and the UK. This is very different to the situation here in Australia. I find it quite bizarre that one can buy a packet of cigarettes in any service station here, but it is not legal to purchase a product that is exponentially less harmful to health as a far safer alternative. I frankly do not understand the logic.
Speaking as a doctor who has appraised the available evidence, and as an ex-smoker and ex-vaper, there is absolutely, unequivocally no doubt in my mind that switching from smoking to vaping nicotine is a no-brainer
I hope, and genuinely expect that at some point in the not too distant future vaping nicotine will be something that can be readily accessed in Australia. As you all know, currently one needs a prescription to legally import nicotine for vaping.
I am confident that eventually, common sense will prevail and this will change. Until it does however, I am delighted to offer my services as a willing prescriber for those people who have tried but failed to quit smoking using willpower and conventional therapies alone."
Kevin's contact details are available here with the other nicotine-prescribing doctors.