Vaper Calls Proposal To Prescribe E-Cigarettes To Smokers A ‘No-Brainer’

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

The owner of a vaping chain in the United Kingdom is calling a proposal that lets doctors prescribe e-cigarettes for smokers trying to quit a “no-brainer.”

Richard O’Connell, who is the co-founder of the popular e-cigarette chain Vape Town, says medical providers should be encouraged to direct patients to vapor products if they are struggling to quit combustible cigarettes. He points to the avalanche of research for esteemed health bodies like Public Health England and the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which show vaping drastically cuts the harms from smoking and improves future health outcomes for smokers who exclusively switch to the products, reports The Plymouth Herald.

Martin Dockerell, head of Public Health England’s tobacco control efforts, recently argued e-cigarettes should be available for sale in U.K. hospitals and vaping should be permitted in single-occupancy rooms as well as designated communal rooms.

The suggestion came in the wake of an independent review of existing research on e-cigarettes published Feb.6 by Public Health England, which confirmed the devices eliminate 95 percent of the risks of combustible cigarettes, because the majority of cancer causing chemicals are released when tobacco is burned.

“When we first started people were quite negative towards vaping, but now they are widely acknowledged as having health benefits and we see this time and time again,” O’Connell told The Plymouth Herald. “I think everyone knows someone who vapes now and the mystery surrounding them has gone away. So I think it’s a no-brainer – in comparison to people smoking, this is far more preferable.”

O’Connell, a former smoker, notes that the majority of his employees are former smokers themselves who now satiate their nicotine cravings with vape devices.

The review from Public Health England showed the devices are improving the quit rate of smokers in the U.K. and accelerating annual declines in the country’s smoking rate. There are currently 2.9 million active vapers in the U.K., and roughly half are former smokers who have completely ditched combustible tobacco.

Researchers estimate that roughly 20,000 smokers are using e-cigarettes to quit smoking each year.

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