On Thursday 24th September, Louise Ross, manager of the Leicester Stop Smoking Service was invited to speak at the British Thoracic Society Stop Smoking Champions Study Day.
The British Thoracic Society (BTS) is a registered charity that exists to improve standards of care for people who have respiratory diseases and to support those who provide that care; this meeting in particular served as a way for experts in their field to share knowledge.
The busy event, which is held annually, was hosted at Glenfield Hospital’s Education Centre and attended by doctors and specialists from hospitals across the UK. The day was an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others; featuring talks on best practice, new smoking cessation techniques and ongoing policy changes.
Louise led a passionate talk on ecigarettes that included the current work carried out by the Stop Smoking Service, as well as an overview of the history of ecigarette use. However, she also drew from her considerable experience of interacting with service users who have used ecigarettes.
The Leicester Stop Smoking Service is ideally placed to share knowledge about smoking cessation using ecigarettes, as it became the UK’s first ecig-friendly service, in March 2014. Although the service doesn’t supply ecigs, it provides the behavioural support that makes a big difference to success rates and is thus uniquely placed to comment on the positive gains that can come from being open-minded about vaping.
One key piece of data presented was gathered from Leicester service users; the service saw a 20% increase in quitting rates when NRT and ecigarettes were used in unison along with behavioural support from Stop advisors.
The talk was rounded up with a panel session in which four ecigarette users were invited to share their individual experiences of switching from smoking to vaping, adding a personal perspective to the debate.
The panel discussion was highly interactive, with audience members feeling comfortable asking a number of difficult questions that were answered candidly by the ecigarette users on the panel.
The recent report from Public Health England stating that ecigarettes are at least 95% safer than smoking, and the ongoing debate among opinion leaders over their classification as a tobacco product, or a medicinal device, or a leisure product, it was important to hear such individual stories from people who had tried and failed to quit using traditional forms of NRT in the past.
The message was loud and clear from the vapers: that by using ecigarettes they had been able to regain control over their health by using a device that they felt suited them better than traditional NRT. Some of the panel had never even intended to stop smoking, but they found that ecigarettes offered a much better alternative to smoking. As one panel member said ‘We’ve been sitting here for almost an hour – have you heard any of us cough in that time? If we’d been smokers, we definitely would have been coughing!’
If you want help to stop smoking, or you want more information on using ecigarettes as part of a strategy to quit, please call the Stop Smoking Service on 0116 454 4000