E-Cigarettes are just a Stepping Stone

This National No Smoking Day (13th March), Bucks GPs Your Doctor, are calling for greater awareness that e-cigarettes should only be used as a stepping stone in order to give up smoking altogether.

Smoking is the largest single preventable cause of cancer each year in the UK and smokers often turn to e-cigarettes as a good alternative to smoking tobacco, but their contents aren’t always clear.

Dr Mathi Woodhouse from Your Doctor says: “The best way to view e-cigarettes is whilst they are safer than cigarettes, they should be used as a stepping stone to help you stop smoking entirely and not be used as a long-term substitute. Giving up all smoking is the single most important lifestyle choice you could make to improve your health.”

There is now thought to be 3.2 million people e-cigarette users in the UK, with around half of these users smoking e-cigarettes in order to quit tobacco. Some also choose to vape because it is cheaper than buying cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are believed to carry a smaller risk than cigarettes, but the long-term health risks of e-cigarettes are not fully known yet. Ecigarettesdon’t contain tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke, but they do contain nicotine which is what makes tobacco addictive and affects how the brain develops.

Research from the US shows major e-cigarette brands contained traces of toxic chemicals which include substances known to causecancer such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, as well as nickel and chromium, and we do not fully know how these compounds will interact with our lung tissue. There are also possible side effects of e-cigarettes including dry skin, eyes and mouth, rashes, itchiness, sensitivity and nose issues.

There are also still many people who smoke both tobacco and electronic cigarettes which still exposes them to the toxic, cancer causing substances in tobacco smoke and this group needs to still go further and switch completely. In summary whilst it is much better to smoke e-cigarettes than tobacco, it would be safer to give those up too.”

To support National No Smoking Day, here are some of Your Doctor’s tips on the best ways to quit smoking:-


  1. If you would like some extra help then visit your GP for advice on quitting or to obtain a prescription for anti-smoking solutions like nicotine patches or gum. When you try a nicotine substitute your chances of quitting doubles to 15% and when you use Champix, an oral prescription only medicine used in smoking cessation, your chances of success doubles again.

  1. Set a date and time to stop smoking and smoke normally up until that point. Slowly cutting down on cigarettes can have a psychological effect that makes the cigarettes seem far more precious than they actually are. Put the money aside that you would have otherwise spent on cigarettes and watch your money grow!

  1. Let your friends and relatives know that you are quitting smoking, especially if they are smokers. If your friends are aware of your plans, they will find ways to be more considerate of your choice.

  1. The first week without cigarettes is normally the hardest in terms of cravings. Make sure you make lots of non-smoking plans with friends to keep you busy. Remind yourself constantly as to why you are giving up.

  1. Try to avoid alcohol for the first few weeks of quitting smoking. Alcohol is a major trigger for many smokers so switch to non-alcoholic drinks for a while. You might feel hungry in the first few weeks of quitting smoking. Be aware of avoiding overeating as a different bad habit and fill your eating day with healthy snacks and meals.

You are much more likely to quit with help. www.your-doctor.co.uk

National smoke helpline on 0300 123 1044.