England’s “Stoptober” Smoking Cessation Campaign Supports E-Cigarettes For The First Time
The well known annual government campaign is adding vaping suggestions to its tv ads for the first time ever
The annual Stoptober campaign in England works toward getting smokers to attempt quitting. Although there are still some public health officials who are afraid to come out in favor of e-cigarettes, the momentum is gaining for vaping as a smoking cessation tool. In light of this, organizers of “Stoptober” have decided to include vaping in their TV ads for the first time ever. They were very impressed by just how many people vaping was able to help quit smoking during the campaigns, even without their advertising. Over half of the 1.5 million people who have participated in Stoptober since its inception in 2012 used e-cigarettes.
However, vaping has not been officially endorsed as a smoking cessation aid by the National Health Service of the UK. In spite of this, many health experts have long since started suggesting vaping for patients who have had little success with traditional NRTs such as gum and patches. The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) does not list e-cigarettes as a suggested way to quit smoking, but does acknowledge that many smokers have found them integral to their success quitting. They also correctly state that the evidence is too new for the long term effects of vaping to be really understood.
Government officials in charge of Stoptober saw that a record number of people were successfully quitting smoking at the same time the number of vapers was exploding. University College of London research found that over 20% of attempts were successful in the first half of 2017, compared with an average of only 16% for the previous 10 years. Most encouraging was the rise in successful attempts among the poorest people surveyed. The most marginalized populations tend to be the hardest to affect change in. So when we start to see change in those populations it’s a sure sign that change is actually taking a hold on every level of society. The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Prof. Gina Radford, believes it’s “only right” to use Stoptober to promote something proven to be at least 95% safer and successful at helping smokers quit.
The Right Way
Moves like this are indicative of just how progressive on vaping England has been. This in part has lead to the historically low smoking rates they currently enjoy. Prof. Radford also acknowledged the many other factors that have helped facilitate this landmark. England’s example shows there is a legitimate way to incorporate e-cigarettes into existing anti-smoking campaigns. What Professor Radford and the NICE are actually doing with this decision is legitimizing the countless individuals who have used e-cigarettes to successfully quit. Education about the potential risks is the key to fostering an open discussion with people about safe practices and appropriate usage.
As noted before, this philosophy appears to be working with only 15.5% of people in the UK over 18 saying they smoked in 2016, compared with 21% in 2007 and 26.8% in 2000. The same time these historic declines have taken place, vaping has seen a meteoric rise in the UK. But that doesn’t mean the fight is over; The biggest killer in the UK is still smoking, contributing to over 79,000 deaths per year.
Not to be outdone, NHS Scotland recently pledged to implement some of the most progressive smoking prevention policies in the world. Part of their plan includes using e-cigarettes as a tool in that fight. Moves like this are very encouraging in the struggle for public opinion. Not all countries are as open to vaping though. The battle sometimes ends up being much more difficult in places policy is actively equating e-cigarettes with combustibles. But more than anything, actions like this are important because they grow the amount of people who can say they successfully quit smoking for good. The more people who improve their health and well-being by choosing vaping over smoking, the more spokespeople will exist to spread the experience based truth of vapings benefits.
What do you think about Stoptober adding e-cigarettes to their campaign? Do you think it’s important to support vaping in this way? How did you decide to pick up vaping? Let us know in the comments.