Smokers across Yorkshire are being urged to quit with the help of e-cigarettes as part of a campaign announced by Yorkshire Cancer Research on Wednesday, March 14.
Launched to coincide with National No Smoking Day, the Vape To Quit campaign will also call for workplaces to go smoke-free by banning smoking on the premises and replacing smoking areas with designated vaping areas.
Healthcare professionals working in the region will be encouraged to support smokers who choose to quit by vaping.
Yorkshire Cancer Research is backing the latest evidence published by Public Health England in February, which states that vaping with e-cigarettes is at least 95% safer than smoking, and that e-cigarette vapour does not harm bystanders.
E-cigarettes are inhalable aerosols which heat a solution containing nicotine. While nicotine is highly addictive, it does not cause smoking-related diseases such as cancer. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, which produces harmful carcinogenic chemicals including tar and carbon monoxide when burned.
E-cigarettes have become the most popular stop smoking aid, and people who use them with the help of local stop smoking services are more likely to quit successfully.
Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “We have reviewed the evidence and concluded that smokers should be encouraged to try vaping as a tool to quit smoking. E-cigarettes are not entirely risk-free, but when compared to tobacco cigarettes they are significantly safer – there is no question about it - and we know that they are effective in reducing smoking rates.
E-cigarettes are still quite new, and their long-term impact needs more research. But half of all long-term smokers will die as a result of their smoking if they don’t quit. Action needs to be taken now. We can’t afford to wait while the health of hundreds of thousands of people across Yorkshire continues to be harmed from tobacco smoke.
Smoking is the leading cause of early death in Yorkshire. The county has the highest smoking rate in England, with an estimated 750,000 smokers living in the region. Smoking is responsible for 16 different types of cancer, including 86% of lung cancers, 37% of bladder cancers and 23% of liver cancers.
More people in Yorkshire get lung cancer than any other cancer type. Incidence and mortality rates of most of the other smoking-related cancers are also higher than the national average.
There are currently about 250,000 e-cigarette users in the region. Studies suggest that 52% of users are ex-smokers and 45% are current smokers. In the UK, 1.5m vapers have stopped smoking completely, and a further 770,000 people have given up both smoking and vaping.
Due to the relative safety of e-cigarettes and their success in helping people quit, Yorkshire Cancer Research is calling for more support to be given to those who wish to vape. The charity is recommending that organisations follow Public Health England’s guidelines when creating e-cigarette policies, which advise that a clear distinction is made between vaping and smoking.
Dr Scott said: “E-cigarette use is not covered by UK smoke-free laws, which prohibit smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces. Vaping is a different activity to smoking, and should be treated as such. It is not acceptable to require vapers to share the same outdoor space as smokers, or to ban e-cigarette use. This could undermine an attempt to quit or make it more difficult for people to stay smoke-free. Vaping should be made a more convenient, as well as a safer option.”
The charity will also be writing to healthcare workers at hospitals across the region to highlight the key differences between vaping and smoking.
Dr Scott added: “It is vital that healthcare professionals understand that vaping is an essential tool for improving the health of people living in our region. Negative coverage in the media has led to a misconception that vaping is dangerous, when the reality is that e-cigarettes have the potential to reduce the harm from tobacco caused to smokers, those around them and the wider society.”
For more information and to view Yorkshire Cancer Research’s full position statement on electronic cigarettes please visit www.ycr.org.uk/vapetoquit.View all