When an innovation arrives on the vaping scene, it’s easy to be sceptical. After all, it isn’t always easy to tell which refinements will meaningfully improve vaping and which changes will… well, prove to be mere fads. However, it looks like nic salts could be here for the long haul. What exactly are nic salts?
Alternatively known by its full name “nicotine salts”, they aren’t – unlike what the name might have led you to believe – crystals. Instead, they represent a change to the familiar nicotine formula and could provide you with your smoothest vaping yet.
How Nic Salts Differ From Freebase Nicotine
If you are familiar with smoking, you probably also know about nicotine… or so you think! You might not have realised that the pure, freebase nicotine in standard cigarettes does not grow in tobacco leaves, which instead harbour only nicotine salts, as Vaping Daily explains.
In those leaves, the nicotine bonds with particular acids, resulting in a significantly more stable molecule: a nicotine salt. Nic salts come in various forms, depending on the type of acid to which the nicotine bonds – whether that acid is citric, lactic, malic or something else.
None of those salts appear in either conventional cigarettes or standard vape juice. Freebase nicotine is formed through the addition of ammonia to the nicotine to make it more addictive – a recipe upon which tobacco companies stumbled as long ago as the 1960s.
How it Emerged in the Vaping Industry
The re-emergence of nic salts into the mainstream can ultimately be attributed to PAX. This is the company responsible for conceiving the JUUL pod vaping system. In 2015, PAX was marketing JUUL pods to people seeking to quit smoking. The firm had an interest in replicating the smoking experience.
Therefore, PAX bonded nicotine to benzoic acid to produce a nic salt that. As confirmed by research, rivalled freebase nicotine in its ability to maximise nicotine’s concentration in blood plasma.
Interestingly, this form of nicotine also had the side effect of lowering the vapour’s PH value. It therefore enables a significantly smoother vape. This meant that vapers of this nic salt could enjoy a strong e-liquid that wouldn’t leave them with coughing fits.
How should you vape nic salts?
Nic salts in their vape-ready form give vapers a strong nicotine hit while they used small, portable devices. Indeed, the JUUL system is such a device. Nevertheless, you don’t strictly need a JUUL to effectively use these nic salts. Any lower-power device and tank setup will suffice.
Taken from the tobacco leaves like traditional nicotine, nic salts plus a variety of organic components enters the bloodstream at a quicker rate. Merging with other chemicals, adding benzoic acid makes the difference. It drops the PH level, meaning it’s not as harsh on the throat, leaving you feeling satisfied when vaping.
Taking up vaping has become a popular means to help quit smoking. From a 2020 study, research suggests the UK had roughly 2.7 adult million vapers. It’s widely seen by health professionals as a safer way to reduce your nicotine and stop inhaling cigarette smoke. However, the sceptics still remain while further research is carried out to highlight its use. Is life insurance for vapers as high as it is for smokers?
Although it’s good those figures have seen an increase which is positive for the government’s plan to stop smoking by 2030, smokers need a suitable alternative that increases the chances of making that switch a permanent one. In the past, people have turned to nicotine replacement therapies such as gum or patches.
However, in more recent times, e-cigarettes have provided the answer. In life it’s natural people want to cover themselves adequately with life insurance. As we know smokers have always had higher premiums due to the risks it carries, but what about vaping? Although nicotine is the only substance from cigarettes in a vape, what do insurance firms say about the industry?
Do Insurers Look Kindly on Vapers?
Generally, the answer is no. Most vapers will struggle to get lower premiums when seeking insurance. It’s all based on the insurance provider, who believe vaping is just as dangerous as smoking. Therefore, it’s worth doing your research to get the best offer possible.
The likes of Aegon, AIG, Aviva and Zurich are all life insurers that have admitted to taking this stance. With more positive research about vaping, life insurance for vapers will reduce and not match smokers insurance prices. Sadly, there remain several life insurers that don’t appear to distinguish between vaping and smoking when calculating premiums – but why?
One such insurer, Vitality, has called vaping “a relatively new activity compared to smoking tobacco”, adding that it “does not have an entirely clear risk-benefit profile; there are multiple perspectives on how vaping affects current, ex- and never-smokers.”
The insurer explains: “We do not presently incentivise vaping and are keenly following the debate as the evidence base for the impact of vaping grows”.
L&G is another insurer taking a similar view, insisting that there are not “any studies which show the long-term effects of e-cigarettes.” L&G concedes that “recent studies suggest vaping is better for health compared to smoking cigarettes, but it appears clear they are still worse for you than not smoking at all.”
Could This Change in the Future for Vapers?
While several insurers are reluctant to meaningfully differentiate between smoking and vaping, there remains hope for vapers left despondent by these insurers’ stances.
Robert West, a health professor at University College London, has argued: “Nicotine is not what kills you when you smoke tobacco. Vaping is probably about as safe as drinking coffee.”
Hence, it might not be long before you can enjoy the best e-liquid without impacting your wallet via life insurance.
We are soon seeing the end of Public Health England (PHE), with a rebrand to the ‘National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP)’. For now, all the talk is about the Coronavirus pandemic, which is a large reason for the change in direction. However, that hasn’t stopped the current government agency, whose mission is a responsibility to ‘protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities’ from releasing their latest findings on e-cigarettes in 2021. This is the seventh update about vaping, dating back to 2015 with the now-famous report in the industry highlighting its importance in the fight against tobacco. Will we see the end of Public Health England E-Cigarettes updates?
PHE has over the years focused on many areas of improving UK health, vaping has quickly become a much-debated topic. This is despite many medical experts understanding how it can reduce nicotine levels, leading thousands to stop smoking cigarettes. Plenty of respectable government agencies and health organisations have backed vaping as a cessation tool. But the jury is still out on its worth as a way to give up smoking, typically sensationalised as negative by the British and in particular US media.
What the seventh extensive report in 2021 by the PHE researchers and medical professionals highlights is vaping remains a gateway to prevent smoking and not a gateway that leads to smoking.
What Does the PHE 2021 Report Claim?
Due to the impact of Covid-19, the 2021 report didn’t have the same amount of research compared to previous years. Nevertheless, the results still proved it was worth the effort. For instance, like a nicotine replacement therapy, there is a much higher percentage of vaping products users. This is in comparison with other methods such as Varenicline, a medicine you take orally. In 2020, 27.2% of people used vape products such as pods, mods and vape pens to quit. Only 4.4% used Varenicline at the other end of the scale.
The 2021 study highlighted similarities between the past seven yearly updates from PHE. This essentially details the best method for quitting smoking – medicine and a vaping product together, one after the other. In most of the studies conducted, the researchers offered older vaping products and mainly tobacco e-liquids to understand the impact. The 2021 PHE report noted that:
Further research is needed into the barriers and enablers to using vaping products as part of a supported quit attempt to stop smoking services.
Local authorities should continue to fund and provide stop smoking services and all stop smoking services should have a consistent approach to the use of vaping products.
Further research is needed to assess whether smokers who use stop smoking services and vaping products differ from smokers who use the services and other smoking cessation aids.
More studies are needed which include newer types of vaping products that have better nicotine delivery.
How the Vaping Industry Can Continue to Evolve
Even in the 2017 report alone, more than 50,000 people in the UK stopped smoking thanks to vaping. With less nicotine, thanks to greater control via vaping, smokers have a fighting chance of ending their addiction. The research from the report also demonstrated how multiple Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) creates a better opportunity to remove tobacco. As we know, millions die each year from a variety of illnesses associated with tobacco combustion. For this reason, the UK has already set a target of 2030 to eradicate this issue.
Even though the PHE agency will cease to exist, it’s vital vaping receives positive media attention. Spreading the word about this increasingly used cessation tool is more important than ever. The UK needs continued Public Health England e-cigarettes reports to inform the general public about the benefits of vaping. Organisations such as the NHS, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation back this movement. Why shouldn’t the government continue to do so?
Hopefully, with Covid-19 showing promising signs of slowing down thanks to increased vaccinations, we will see an increase and not a decrease in research. The yearly reports highlight the importance of government-funded research to reduce smoking habits. We look forward to the 2022 report at Let’s Stop Smoking.
Time and time again, we’re seeing the narrative change in a negative way in the USA regarding the vaping industry. In comparison to Europe and Asia, where e-cigarettes are hugely popular, the United States of America is imposing as much legislation and media coverage as possible to create a negative light around vaping. This now extends to shipping, in particular focusing heavily on the USPS (United States Postal Service).
Since the EVALI outbreak and the bad press JUUL received, with both hyped up by the US media to scandalise the vaping industry, the US government has clamped down on vaping use, in particular among the youth of society. The latest step – the US ban on mail shipments of vaping products to a country of more than 330 million people. What does this landmark passing in congress mean for the people of the USA? How will it affect small vaping businesses based outside of the USA that send products over there? Let’s assess the next steps once this change comes into effect.
The Omnibus Spending Bill Explained
One of Donald Trump’s final significant acts as president towards the end of December 2020 involved his signature, passing a very important law in the USA. A mere 5,500 pages of content heavily related to Coronavirus relief, signed by the 45th President, included a key passage ‘Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act’. It’s very carefully worded because although it points out something which is a necessity, it goes much deeper in terms of meaning for the vaping industry. While it’s great that the US is putting a stop to children vaping, it also reduces choice for adult vapers.
What it essentially creates is a dilemma for the vaping industry in the USA and further afield. When the bill was passed through Congress on the 27th of December, despite opposition to the bill from vaping lead authorities and advocates, it changed everything. From March 2021, the US Postal Service (USPS) will cease all shipments and mailing of vaping products.
What Does the USPS Ban Mean For Vapers?
It’s a huge deal for those using vaping products, as well as business making and distributing them to the United States. With over 600,000 employees, the USPS currently has a huge responsibility to deliver all types of vaping-related products to customers across the USA. It will require paying extra for shipping in all likelihood, ordering for delivery through independent courier companies to make deliveries. Considering some areas are out of delivery zones, and the follow-up announcement of FedEx also not making vaping product delivery, it leaves a massive issue for vapers.
Where will they get their products from? How much extra will it cost? Will new president Joe Biden reverse the decision through congress or support it? These are the kind of questions that will cause serious concern for vapers in the coming months and years ahead. When you factor in many turn to e-cigarettes as a nicotine alternative to smoking, often used as a cessation tool to quit and improve health, many may struggle with the new enforced legislations.
Any businesses wishing to proceed with shipments of nicotine and even non-nicotine vaping products will have to pass strict measures. These set out by the ‘Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, itself a part of the Jenkins Act. Penalties include up to a three-year prison sentence for any business that doesn’t follow the strict rules of PACT. This doesn’t just stop with products surrounding the vaping industry. It includes CBD and vaping THC too, which is a blow to the emerging and evolving Cannabidiol (CBD) industry.
How Will USPS Ban Impact Vaping Business
The PACT agreement features a long list of rules. Vaping businesses must adhere to these if they wish to stay successful and at the very least operational. Fines are just the beginning if a vaping business does not follow strict regulations in place. We all know the tobacco business has massively profited during the Coronavirus pandemic, leaving the vaping industry in a predicament. Because the US government continues to impose these rules against vapers using the cessation tool, the ripple effect only increases.
The USPS ban will certainly prove a challenge for consumers too. Where will they go to get their products? Will it involve risking their health during a pandemic to visit a local store for vaping supplies? With delivery limited, it may cause a greater risk short and long term to the US public. For years the USPS have provided a vital service to the vaping community. Now during the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, vapers will need to find another way.
During the next few months of 2021, we will all see how the vaping industry deals with this latest blow. As they continue to innovate products and e-liquids, surely they will do the same with distribution processes. The Omnibus Bill is the latest hurdle – one the vaping industry will wish to clear. In terms of ‘next steps’, outsourcing to independent couriers is even more vital now. Using solely services like UPS to meet customer demands appears to be the only way right now. Otherwise, they face losing potential customers. Or run the risk of creating a situation where people, especially the younger generation, will simply revert to smoking.
Smoking has been prominent in society for decades, taking the lives of millions a year through a variety of illnesses. This can range from lung disease to cancer. The issue is being tackled, with smoking declining year on year based on recent statistics and the Covid-19 pandemic. The latter is a predominantly a lung-related risk, hence the need/desire for more to give up smoking cigarettes.
A variety of health authorities such as Cancer UK, the NHS and Public Health England are continuing to do all in their power to raise awareness. They’re doing this by attempting to address all groups affected. Examples include groups such as younger smokers (teenagers) and those passing of second-hand smoke to children. One group that does not get the same attention and should do is the homeless, and this was a key focus for the recent Leaving No Smoker Behind presentation held online in January 2021.
There are obvious reasons why the homeless do not have access to the same resources as the general public do to give up smoking. Common cessation tools such as nicotine patches and gum have been suggested in the past as useful aids to help smokers give up cigarettes, with mixed success. However, in recent times, we have seen a surge in the popularity of e-cigarettes as an improvement on traditional methods, with a 2019 study suggesting it’s twice as effective.
The Aim of the ‘Leaving No Smoker Behind’ Study
To help an often overlooked group get more help to give up smoking, a group of medical professionals presented their findings on how e-cigarettes helped the homeless reduce their cigarette smoking. This panel was led by the head of Public Health Tobacco Control Martin Dockrell, with presentations by Dr Deborah Robson, Louise Ross and Professor Lynne Dawkins, who found some interesting studies on how vaping helped the homeless combat smoking.
As Dockrell enthusiastically opened the presentation, he reflected on his past experiences working with people who have HIV. In addition to welcoming all who joined the study online as well as introducing the keynote speakers. He explained how most of his work involved the ‘most disenfranchised of the public’ – including drug users and gay men. Dockrell added the same applied to the smoking population, with ‘much of the smoking burden similarly falls most heavily on the most disadvantaged and excluded’.
Discussed above, you can see why 80% of the adult homeless smoke tobacco. Often overlooked, they get little assistance from the public, typically inhaling combustible cigarettes because they’re more accessible. Also, the habit is harder to reduce when around other homeless that follow a similar habit. Therefore, Dockrell was enthused to introduce speakers such as Dawkins, who has ‘done really interesting work’ on e-cigarettes. Noted by the NHS as a potential treatment that can help people give up smoking.
Homeless Smoking Study Results
What Professor Dawkins compiled based on 52 different studies highlighted the key issue among the homeless – cost. It reduced their chances of cessation through e-cigarettes was the price of a starter kit. She highlighted that only one study took place in the UK, with more done in the US. The study highlighted that the kit was difficult to keep hold of for the homeless. Those keeping hold of the devices reduced in a 12 week period of the study, with:
13 people no longer having the e-cigarette after 24 weeks
Six after 12 weeks
Six people lost or misplaced the e-cigarette after four weeks
However, the study offered positives, according to Dawkins. The London South Bank University professor claimed it did not lead to the homeless using the devices to vape drugs. Neither did they turn to different drugs after vaping. Plus, after 24 weeks, 27 people continued to use the e-cigarette after the study ended, while only seven did not.
Vaping e-cigarettes among the homeless ended up being three times more successful than traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) methods used. Adding centres for the homeless around the UK. Providing useful facts and tips about how to vape using an Aspire Pocke-X Kit. Helping those struggling with cigarette addiction choose which e-liquids piqued the interest of the homeless involved in the studies. The study often featured those smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day.
Key Takeaway From the Presentation
Smoking is still a widespread problem, not just upon the general population but among overlooked groups. Like the vapers who require even more assistance to reduce and hopefully stop this habit. Studies like the one done by Professor Hawkins need to increase to assist the homeless in any way possible.
Are you a heavy smoker and still smoking? Have you tried vaping yet? We all know that taking the time to quit smoking can be tough. Alas, you may have attempted the feat several times with limited success before becoming flustered and frustrated before eventually lighting up as a last resort to save your sanity. Whichever stop-smoking route you may have chosen to do down in the past, we may have the smoke-free solution that you’ve been looking for. Looking for the best e-cig suitable for heavy smokers? You’ve come to the right place!
Vaping vs Smoking Cigarettes
Vaping has helped millions of smokers around the world successfully quit smoking. But let’s be clear, vaping is not smoking. Deemed to be up to 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes, vaping dies its best to simulate the experience of smoking, minus the toxic smoke, tar, and tens of thousands of carcinogenic materials that you inhale every time you light up.
While it would be utterly divine to have a simple ‘one-size fits all’ e-cig style solution to help soles quit, the reality is that we all have different habits and different ways of doing things. If you were to offer a light cigarette to a heavy smoker, the chances are that they’ll be left feeling the need for more. The same rule applies to vaping. While e-liquid is available in different nicotine strengths, it is often the power that your device is capable of which will truly satisfy your cravings and leave you feeling content.
High Nicotine or Sub Ohm vaping?
It may seem odd that you can choose to use a high concentration nicotine e-liquid in an e-cigarette or vape pen and not feel satisfied, however, the power of your device coupled with the coil resistance varies the amount of vapour produced and will often dictate how effective the nicotine absorption is, and how satisfied you will be.
In any vape device, a coil is used to heat up the e liquid and create vapour. The coil resistance is measured in Ohms and the battery voltage is applied to the coil resistance so that the current through the coil creates heat which vaporises the e liquid. Simple. (see Ohm’s Law for further information)
With lower resistance, particularly below 1 ohm (ie “sub ohm” resistances) the current and hence the heat produced increases creating more vapour. For heavy smokers this is a feature of vaping that will help them stop smoking.
In simple terms, in order to quit smokingheavy smokers generally need a vape device that can operate with sub ohm coils.
If you are a heavy smoker, used to smoking strong cigarettes or rolling tobacco, then the chance is that a basic e-cigarette may leave you vaping more often than you would actually smoke. So what’s a heavy smoker supposed to do? Increase your power or nicotine strength or both?.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of devices that cater to such a demand. While some may be used by hobbyists who enjoy the art of cloud chasing, vape mods and sub-ohm vape pen devices can also offer heavy smokers the chance to stay satisfied and stay smoke-free. Please take a peek at our top 4 picks of the best vapes for heavy smokers.
This is the only pen style vape device we consider here for heavy smokers. The Void is German design and has both standard coils and sub ohm coils. This “sub ohm” option significantly increases the volume of vapour and hence facilitates greater nicotine absorption so is ideal for those of you who are heavier smokers looking to transition to vaping.
The German design means you get an extremely solid well made vape product that will last. The 1500 mAh battery is a high spec. in such a pen device, it will last all day even with significant use.
The Void is smaller and neater than the other options considered below and will feel more familiar especially if you are starting out. Because of this and its ability to satisfy heavy smokers the Xeo Void is our top pick.
Reliable, easy to use and often imitated, SMOK Rigel is a highly regarded device among the vaping community and is the upgrade to the classic Smok Alien. The Rigel features a higher power output and uses more modern and cutting edge coil technology than its predecessor. With an incredible 230W output powered by dual 18650 batteries, this compact device is robust as it is ready to help you quit smoking. With plenty of options to personalise your vaping experience, the likelihood is that you’ll find a setting suitable for heavy smokers needs. Plenty of vapour and plenty of flavour equals one satisfied vaper. See the Rigel
Innokin’s Proton Vape Mod was renowned for its capabilities and ability to satisfy even the most ardent of smokers. But their upgraded edition featuring the Mini Ajax tank goes that one step further to provide papers with the kind of power and technology that’ll create huge vapour clouds and flavourful taste to match. A superior device to many of its counterparts, the Innokin Proton is fitted with a whopping 3400mAh built-in battery, capable of 120w max output. Suitable for beginners and experienced capers alike, if you’re a heavy smoker, then this might be the device to help you finally quit smoking. See the Proton
A particularly sophisticated vape mod, the Aegis X by GeekVape, this is a vape mod for those who experience the rough and tumble of life from time to time. Waterproof, rustproof and shockproof, the Aegis X is durable, to say the least. Powered by dual 18650 batteries, expect a maximum power output of 200 watts, that’ll provide you with a speedy firing time in order to curb those pesky nicotine cravings in an instant. See the Aegis
At the height of the pandemic, and even before that, we have seen a rapid rise in people given up smoking due to health concerns. The damage it does to the body is clear from the millions dying from tobacco use each year. Nevertheless, there has been a concern among the public. Could vaping misinformation be a cause for that number to gradually increase again? Especially among young smokers who are curious about both smoking and/or vaping. Despite disapproving eyes on the vaping industry, we can see from organisations like Public Health England that this is a powerful cessation tool to help smokers quit. It can include nicotine to reduce that addiction but also contains less harmful benefits, various studies suggest.
Across the Atlantic, statistics show from 2015 that 32% of the French public smoked cigarettes regularly. However, could that figure be creeping back up in a negative way because of vaping? Still fairly new on the scene in France, there are clear reasons for vaping to exist and to help gradually give up smoking is one of them. For teenagers, the concern is trying to reduce the number of those inhaling cigarette toxins.
Studying Young Smokers and Vapers in France
In 2019, a study took place in Paris by several leading scientists. They investigated vaping and its impact on reducing smoking. Their studies highlight:
Both smoking and vaping is equally popular among teenagers
The results from point one remained the same even if e-cigarettes came before or after smoking.
Through their studies looking at teenagers during their peak years of curiosity, the scientists discovered that a mixture of young people did not want to switch or continue smoking if they also tried vaping.
New Study Finds Similar Results
Fast forward to 2020 and scientists led by Stephane Legleye at the Paris-Sud university reached the same verdict. They realised together how e-cigarettes have more of a positive effect than negative on reducing the consumption of tobacco:
“Overall, experimenting with e-cigarette first (as opposed to tobacco first) was associated with a reduction in the risk of daily tobacco smoking by the age of 17-18. The association varied with age at experimentation, and early age of experimentation actually increased the risk.
National specificities as to the stage in the tobacco/e-cigarette epidemic and their regulation could play a role in the fact that many adolescents experimenting first with e-cigarette never became tobacco experimenters and that the association with daily smoking was negative even among tobacco experimenters.”
This is based on a study looking at 24,111 teenagers between the ages of 17 and 18.5. Looking at the use of both smoking and vaping, the issue is wide ranging:
Could vaping lead to a transition back to smoking?
Is the way businesses market vaping an issue and enticing teenagers?
More long-term research and results is still the challenge that needs addressing.
Not only that, but the Zlide also helps to improve the flavour of your vape. Another factor is the practical design, reducing the chances of spilling after adding e-liquids. When you consider the Kroma-R iTaste works with all Zenith tanks too (22mm and 24mm), this creates multiple options.
iTaste Kroma-R Performance and Design
This is a seriously stylish piece of equipment to enjoy vaping while out and about or at home. The brushed finish on the sides stands out, while the rubber texture on the back of the device is nice for gripping. On the front, the OLED display is easy to use and clear. Also, because of the bold range of colours available, it gets our seal of approval with options such as bronze and gunmetal.
How to Use Step by Step
A simple process to turn on and use, like with all Innokin Kroma models:
Click the fire button three times to turn on.
You can lock the display by clicking the fire button together with the down arrow.
To enter the menu, press the up and down arrows simultaneously.
Check your puff counter by holding the up and fire buttons together.
This is a fantastic mod with lots of nice little technical extras to tinker with your MTL vape. First of all, safety first. We love the way Innokin built this model to protect the user. Not just a child lock feature which you never know when it will come in handy but an easy to fill slide system too. Because the wattage ranges from 6W all the way up to 80W, you can adjust based on preference. For MTL vaping, best to stick at a lower level. Voltage can change in increments up to 7.5 maximum too.
For peace of mind, you get a 2A micro-USB cable in the kit and the Kroma-R iTaste Zlide features an advanced custom curve feature too. Best of all, it’s response time is rapid at 0.003 seconds with each press of the fire button. Plus, the single 18650 battery is internally built and makes very little noise upon movement of the device.
You can add a variety of coils, but for MTL vaping we recommend the Z-Plex 3D coils for an optimised flavour draw. You can find out more about coils here. The only downside with the Innokin Kroma-R iTaste Zlide is no temperature control. However, not every vaper likes or requires this setting.
Even a seasoned vaper seeking a different mod option can’t go wrong with the Kroma-R iTaste. That’s especially the case if they liked the Kroma-A iTaste previously. Also, it could work as a DTL vape based on the adjustable airflow option but might not get the same result. It’s down to personal choice and how much you value the flavour production.
Any misleading bad press about vaping creates confusion and fear. As it spreads like wildfire, the damage is difficult to repair. Is vaping really bad for you – and worse than smoking? Plenty of research backs up its use as a better cessation technique to quit cigarettes. Changing nicotine quantity, alongside natural ingredients like PG and VG is useful if you wish to quit cigarettes. However, if vaping misinformation continues, everything positive from vaping will take a backwards step.
Recent statistics tell us a lot of useful information about the positive effect vaping has on former smokers. As vapers in the UK increase, roughly half of the total nationwide smokers, the key reasons for this change include:
Wanting to Cut Down on Cigarettes
Aid to Stop Smoking
While this is good to see, misleading and sometimes false claims about vaping from a lack of research is alarming.
Who Defends Against Vaping Misinformation?
Fighting in the vaping corner, several leading organisations stake its worth instead of smoking. For instance, one of the notable researchers supporting vaping is Public Health England (PHE). Informing the public with annual in-depth case studies and the latest news from PHE medical professionals prove that. One of PHE’s key findings, supported by the NHS, highlights how important switching from smoking to vaping can be. However, as PHE have discovered, numbers continue to fall due to misperception:
“The proportion who thought vaping was less harmful than cigarettes declined from 45% in 2014 to 34% in 2019. These misperceptions are particularly common among smokers who do not vape.”
Organisations like Cancer Research UK and the Action on Smoking Health (ASH) side with PHE. This adds to evidence that vaping is a better alternative. However, doubts remain. None more so than after the E-cigarette, or Vaping Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) outbreak. This led to a nationwide ban of certain e-cigarette products and ramp-up of laws in the USA.
Organisations like PHE highlight these ‘false fears’. What misinformation does is reduce the chances of ex-smokers switching to vaping, because of confusing claims in the media. ASH claims it’s due to a ‘misguided belief that vaping is equally as harmful as smoking’.
Meanwhile, recent numbers show more than 400,000 gave up vaping in the UK between 2019 and 2020. This will only increase depending on what information the public will see. Remember vaping only existed since its creation in 2003 by Chinese creator Hon Lik. That means less research or proof that it’s worse than cigarettes, only sceptics. Nevertheless, those considering vaping as an alternative remain cautious. And with the end of PHE, that’s only going to get worse in the UK. So the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) must carry on the good work of PHE. As research improves, vaping misinformation should reduce. If you don’t want to cause damage to those around you, vaping is a major improvement on second-hand smoke. It’s important to find a recognised brand of e-liquid approved by trade regulations. This will ensure that what you’re vaping is certified and contains only the ingredients stated.
In 2020, the UK is in the middle of a crisis. Because of the Coronavirus, the UK and beyond face great difficulties – not just socially but also economically. As we see businesses close, people losing jobs and organisations in pieces, one we did not expect to see scrapped is Public Health England, also known as PHE. The Public Health England switch is a blow to multiple sectors and organisations, including the vaping industry.
Since 2013, Public Health England has acted as an independent executive agency, on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care. In the past, the NHS lacked organisation, with structural changes needed for decades. What was the result? A new direction for public health under the guidance of David Cameron as new PM in 2010 – with a different strategy. As of 2020, using a budget of just under £300 million annually, PHE employs over 5,000 members of staff including medical researchers and scientists. Their aim includes ‘protecting and improving the nation’s health and wellbeing’, as well as ‘reducing health inequalities’.
Through in-depth research and analysis, they have tackled major issues through key goals, including:
Protecting the nation from public health hazards.
Researching, collecting and analysing data to improve our understanding of public health challenges.
Making the public healthier and reducing differences between the health of different groups by promoting healthier lifestyles, advising government and supporting action by local government, the NHS and the public.
Preparing for and responding to public health emergencies.
Improving the health of the whole population by sharing their information and expertise.
In eight centres across the UK, work is carried out not just in England, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as internationally. The initial idea was to assist more than 70 health organisations, bringing them together under one roof. In 2020, a particular emphasis on PHE focused on the Coronavirus pandemic, producing multiple reports and research that could assist the NHS.
Not just limited to Covid-19, they also report on health concerns such as cancer, immunisation from diseases, general health focused-projects and since 2015 a progressive study of the vaping industry. This included yearly reports on key topics for Vaping in the UK. Tasked by the government’s Tobacco Control Plan until 2022, a different plan is now in place.
Understanding the Public Health England Switch
Although the initial plan was to ‘devolve health and wellbeing out of central government’, PHE has been stopped in its tracks before expected. According to major figures in Westminster such as Health and Care Secretary Matt Hancock, the major reasons for its dissolution was to help the UK tackle the Coronavirus pandemic:
“To give ourselves the best chance of beating this virus once and for all – and of spotting and being ready to respond to other health threats, now and in the future, we are creating a brand new organisation to provide a new approach to public health protection and resilience.” – Matt Hancock
The expertise of PHE is still likely. However, the newly created organisation called the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) works on a different model. Merging with the NHS Track and Trace system, it’s more in line with the USA’s ‘Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’. The main aim of the newly created NIHP, which will officially start in Spring 2021, is to stop illnesses and pandemics like Covid-19 in their tracks, with a greater plan in place earlier.
Speaking after the NIHP announcement, Baroness Dido Harding – head of NHS Track and Trace, stated:
“The changes announced today are designed to strengthen our response, and to radically ramp up our fight against this disease, whilst also protecting PHE’s essential work beyond COVID that is so important for the nation’s health.”
Only time will tell whether this is considered the right call. Clearly, it’s angered many key organisations and medical professionals. They believe it is the wrong decision at a critical point in the UK’s future, with over 70 organisations writing to the Prime Minister to highlight the consequences of the PHE dissolution. This could damage key research into more widespread health issues such as mental health, obesity and smoking, published in BMJ by the 70 organisations combined efforts.
What Have They Done to Promote Vaping Over Smoking
One industry that could feel the impact of the decision to shut down PHE is vaping. Still relatively new with its creation in 2003, the timeline of vaping and its differences from smoking is a long journey of discovery, and yet still receives scepticism to the present day. To thrive and help smokers quit – which is its key message – vaping requires organisations like PHE to fight in their corner to have a future.
In the past PHE needed to step in, particularly following the focus on lung issues in the USA, dubbed ‘e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury’ (EVALI), allegedly leading to deaths because of vaping.
PHE quickly dispelled this issue, as well as tackling other key subjects in the debate against vaping vs smoking, with a comprehensive study. With organisations such as UKVIVA backing their claims, it’s no wonder so many leading organisations are against government plans to dissolve PHE, replacing it with NIHP.
As stated earlier, the yearly reports from PHE to update on the latest research was a perfect tonic to rebalance the debate against smoking and promote improving health. Alongside other key health organisations that continue to shine a light on the damage of smoking and the potential benefits of switching to vaping, PHE was making significant strides.
How Will PHE’s Collapse Affect the Vaping Industry
First of all, it’s a huge loss to the general public. With over 7 million smokers in the UK, that figure has significantly dipped over the past decade, thanks to the work and key messages of organisations like PHE. Moving forward, it could be much harder to raise awareness of the damage smoking does without scientific research and a greater focus on health.
Annual studies of how vaping is a better alternative regularly feature in PHE’s yearly reports, with the most recently published in March 2020 covering topics like pregnancy and mental health for Vapers. In the past, they have also looked at important up to date topics including:
If this kind of research, analysis and opinion stops surrounding vaping, many could turn back to smoking or find it harder to quit in the first place.
Can the Vaping Industry Progress Following PHE’s Good Work
To carry on the good work of PHE while also correcting their errors as seen by Westminster, the government faces a monumental task. Because many believe chief politicians like Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock are using the Public Health England switch as the Coronavirus ‘scapegoat’, the next stage of dealing with Covid-19 and moving towards NIHP is vital. Whether we see NIHP pick up where PHE left off with continued research into smoking, obesity and general health is still debated.