It’s been a busy month world wide for vaping and tobacco legislation. There’s more from the e-cigarette ban in San Francisco and new research into quitting rates in the UK. The first big study on the use of vaping in smoking cessation has been released in the US and Ireland are looking to cut out cigarette vending machines to reduce their adult smoking population.
One of the most exciting and positive things to come from the US this month is the new research released. The study tracked the use of e-cigarettes for quitting smoking. While the UK vaping industry has support from the likes of the NHS and Public Health England, the US is still lagging behind. Their findings were positive for vaping. Smokers who used an e-cig daily were more likely to quit smoking entirely after the two year study. Daily vapers showed an 11% success rate when using e-cigarettes. While this sounds relatively low, those who were dual users and weren’t using their vape daily only claimed a 6% success rate in quitting.
Last month we saw the passing of new legislation to ban the sale of all e-cigarettes in San Francisco. The ban has been criticised as short-sighted and harmful against the fight against ending smoking. Exports from both the US and UK say it removes quitting options from smokers. The number of American smokers that are trying to quit slowing down. By removing one of the options that has now been shown to help many quit seems even more counter intuitive.
E-cigarette manufacturers had seven months before the ban came into full effect and as anticipated, Juul are stepping in. The vaping giant holds a 74% market share in the US. Incidentally, their headquarters are also located in San Francisco. Juul have put $1.5m into supporting a referendum as well as a ballot that, if passed, would stop the law from coming into effect.
Juul are always making headlines in the States for the so-called teen vaping epidemic. Following a marketing push, they are now facing lawsuits from parents of teenagers using the device. They’ve since removed all their social media platforms/. They also took fruit and dessert flavoured pods off the shelves of Juul distributors shelves. Since then, a US documentary about the rapidly growing company has been released. This documentary also included an apology to parents regarding teenage use. Juul has been present in America since 2015 and despite the trend slowing down, schools across the country have launched campaigns to raise awareness about underage vaping.
Significantly less strict than an outright ban but somewhat contentious none the less is Tobacco 21. The state of New York has now also joined the ranks of Tobacco 21 states that already include California, Utah and Texas to increase the legal age to purchase tobacco products (including e-cigarettes) to 21. While it may prevent new smokers from younger generations, it’s received criticism. By banning e-cigarettes as well as tobacco, it takes away access to a means of quitting from those age 18 – 20 who are already smokers.
A new green paper has been released in the UK with a goal of stamping out smoking by 2030. The previous goal was 2025. With the current quit success rate, getting the smoking population down to 5% or less is taking longer than anticipated. Part of the initiative includes offering any hospital patients who smoke the support and information they need to quit.
Part of the motivation behind this is that smoking results in the highest number of preventable deaths in the UK. Aside from that, the cost to the NHS has also proven to be incredibly high. It’s currently estimated that smoking costs the economy £13bn a year. This comes from things like cigarette breaks and sick leave. Of that cost, £3bn is taken on by the NHS and social care. It’s been suggested that offering financial rewards to smokers who quit may actually save money in the long run. Saving money is one of the key motivating factors for smokers (aside from improving their health). So, offering financial reward may be that little extra motivation that smokers need.
The Minister for Health in Ireland is intending to make some major changes regarding tobacco and e-cigarettes. The motivated is to reduce the 22% adult smoking rate. The new legislation will ban cigarette vending machines entirely and enforce a ban on selling e-cigarettes to under 18s. It would also prohibit the sale of cigarettes at facilities that cater to children’s events and functions. Stricter licensing for selling cigarettes would also come into effect, accompanied by an increase in cost. With the rate of smoking in Ireland being the highest in 25 – 34 year age bracket, it’s hoped that by making cigarettes less accessible, the younger generations will also be less likely to start in the first place.
The correlation between indoor smoking and heart attack rates has recently been studied in Scotland. Since the indoor smoking ban took effect a decade ago, there’s been a significant drop in heart attack rates in over 60s. Such results can take a while to be seen but the research suggests the over 60s, the age group more likely to suffer from a heart attack, have on average seen a 13% drop in the decade following the change. There was a 17% decrease in the first year after it came into effect. The best part about this is that the statistics include non-smokers too. Essentially, this means passive smokers are being less affected by second hand smoke.
Two hospitals in the Midlands have now put a £50 fine in place for smoking on the premises, as well as opening vape shops in the hospitals themselves. With a lofty goal of being smoke free by 2030, supporting patients and family members of patients who smoke may be a useful way to help people quit faster. With the NHS and PHE both voicing their support for people using e-cigarettes to quit, the number of vapers in the UK has risen from 5.5% in 2017 to 6.4% in 2018 alone.
Following more support and increased accessibility to e-cigs in New Zealand, new research suggests more than half (56.5%) of all smokers have at least tried vaping. The research also discovered daily e-cig use is highest amongst current smokers (3.1%) and those who had quit smoking in the last year (9%). They also found no daily use amongst those who had never smoked before.