In a recent report, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has explored the factors that impact the delivery of smoking cessation interventions across the UK. The report gives a number of recommendations which include e-cigarette training for Primary Care Health Practitioners.

It has been suggested on numerous occasions that medical professionals should give vaping advice to smokers who want to give up with the help of an e-cigarette.

NICE guidelines published in March 2018 stated “It was noted that people who smoke often ask healthcare professionals about using e-cigarettes. The guideline recommends that people should be advised on their use.”

Despite this guidance, it appears that the majority of health practitioners are still failing to give advice on e-cigarettes. The cross-sectional survey the CRUK report is based on shows that “only 1 in 4 (27%) health practitioners frequently providing patients with advice about e-cigarettes as a tool to quit.”

Better e-cigarette training can help more smokers quit

E-cigarettes have now become the UK’s most popular quitting aid. Over 3 million people in the UK now vape, with over half of these now being ex-smokers.

In numerous pieces of research and studies, it has been suggested that the most effective way to utilise vaping is to combine e-cigarettes with professional behavioural support.

The following recommendations were made in the CRUK report:

“Primary care health practitioners and primary care service commissioners and planners across the UK should:

Support the use of e-cigarettes as an aid to stop smoking, recommending that they can also be used alongside behavioural support.”

What more can be done?

With vaping now proving to be the UK’s most popular smoking cessation aid, it is  important that medical practitioners have the correct information and training on vaping. However, there are many aspects to vaping and with masses of media scare stories, the industry can often be misunderstood.

To receive the correct information and advice, stop smoking services and health organisations should work with reputable vape companies. Vaping companies have the knowledge and experience to provide solid information to assist medical professionals.

In a study by the University of East Anglia, lead Author Emma Ward said: “We found that vape shops provided effective behavioural support to help quitters stay smoke-free. ‘Shop assistants were really keen to understand customers’ smoking preferences and give tailored advice about the most appropriate products and they were an ongoing point of contact for practical help.”

Totally Wicked’s expert opinion

Totally Wicked’s Smoking Cessation Officer, Chris Green works closely with councils and smoking cessation services to provide resource, information and training. He said,

“It’s crucial that stop smoking practitioners and health care professionals receive some form of training and advice around e-cigarettes. With a large proportion of the smoking population falsely believing that vaping is as harmful as smoking tobacco, they can play a key role in helping to set the record straight which will allow their clients to make an informed decision.”                       

Totally Wicked welcomes the report from CRUK and hopes to see more efficient training for medical practitioners being undertaken.