The manipulated truth and misguided facts could potentially stop cigarette smokers switching to a safer alternative.

 

In an article by Nursing in practice, Louise Ross – author of the article, focuses on 3 key learning points:

 

  • Better support for patients who smoke
  • How e-cigarettes can help patients
  • How to get more information about smoking alternatives

 

The article goes into detail about how e-cigarettes can help smokers quit and cites quotes from both the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Association who acknowledge that their use is safer than continued smoking.

 

This is hard evidence that e-cigarettes are a safer option to smoking. By switching to vaping, a smoker will cut out, “over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins. These cigarette ingredients include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT.” All of which are found in smoked cigarettes (via Quit Smoking Support)

 

This is also supported by the tobacco control organisations in the UK who state that, “Electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine in a vapour rather than in smoke” and goes into detail about how, “compared to tobacco products, electronic cigarettes are significantly safer.”

 

The article also includes a first-hand case study on how a smoker named Graham switched to e-cigarettes and how it helped him quit. It resulted in his sense of taste and smell returning, as well as being able to breathe easier and feeling more energetic.

 

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Louise Ross, of Nursing in Practice, mentions that she would be “really surprised if any nurse hadn’t been told by one of their smoking patients in the last year that they were thinking about using an e-cigarette to stop smoking. Like advisors in stop smoking services, nurses will see patients who have smoked all their lives, have tried and failed to quit, and those who have become disheartened.”

 

In an article from the Guardian, Linda Bauld looks at the evidence from studies about the effects of smoking over a continued period of time:

Smoked tobacco is a lethal product that kills one in two of its regular users, who lose on average 10 years of life. Smokers die from the tar particles and toxic gases drawn into the body from smoking rather than from the nicotine. However it is the nicotine that is addictive. Many smokers find it very difficult to give up nicotine and will continue to smoke cigarettes without an alternative.

 

She believes that “the public are being misled by scare stories into thinking that vaping is more hazardous than smoking”. One example of this would be from the New England Journal of Medicine: Jensen et al Hidden Formaldehyde in E-cigarette Aerosols who conducted an experiment on vaping at incredibly high temperatures which would be impossible for a vaper to use. They produced incredibly misleading and unrealistic data, creating a media storm in the process. In Clive Bates article on the subject, he said that “This was irresponsible science, careless publishing, and credulous journalism adversely changing the perceptions of the relative risks of smoking and vaping in a way that will cause harm. The paper should be retracted in its entirety.”

 

Unfortunately, this is just one of many misleading studies which the media have jumped on to. This has made smokers who are looking for an alternative to smoking very cautious about e-cigarettes and potentially scaring them away from finding a significantly safer alternative. Bias studies and misleading media stories are therefore causing a lot of harm by doing this.

 

The article from Nursing in Practice cited authoritative reports examining the evidence from the likes of Public Health England, who stated that “E-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than tobacco”. The article also cites Professor John Britton, along with Dr Ilse Bogdanovica who “make the point that e-cigarettes offer vast potential public health benefits” as well as an article by The Pharmaceutical Journal, titled “Stop demonising a potentially useful product for smokers”

 

Louise Ross encourages nurses to educate, encourage and inform smokers about e-cigarettes and their benefits. In her conclusion, she states “As front-line healthcare professionals, nurses are exquisitely positioned to make a difference to health outcomes. With vaping they have an opportunity here to change patients’ lifelong smoking.”