Is vaping like riding a bicycle with a helmet?

Is vaping like riding a bicycle with a helmet?

The impact of smoking on health is huge, obviously. Half of all lifelong smokers die early because of the habit basically losing 3 months of life expectancy for every year they smoke after the age of 35. Also, most would agree the habit is both physically and psychologically addictive. Vaping has now come along and tries to help people quit smoking; however, the jury might still be out, but Public Health England claims that vaping may be contributing to at least 20,000 smokers quitting every year.

Vaping clearly has its critics (Google vaping news and you’ll 90% of the critics). Medical professionals seem reluctant to encourage smokers to make the switch to vaping despite research from the likes of Cardiff University who showed that vaping does not act as a gateway back to tobacco, nor does it normalize smoking among youth. Similarly, the Royal College of Physicians actually announced these findings back in 2016, and now, Embarrassing Bodies' Doctor Christian Jessen has put his name to a campaign calling on fellow doctors to heed this advice and support their patients to switch from smoking to vaping (what a great idea).

There is a growing list of evidence which shows vaping can reduce smoking related harm and yet despite that, more than half of hospitals across Europe ban vaping on their grounds and the majority US hospitals ban it completely. It’s time we were consistent and gave clear advice to smokers to help combat the misinformation they are all too often bombarded with, about vaping.

A study commissioned by the UK Vaping Industry Association, and the widest to date into the health, financial and social benefits of vaping, found that vapers make an average saving of £346 a year compared to when they were smoking, which could equate to an annual nationwide saving of almost £1.1bn. Plus, the long term impact of vaping might be unknown, but is "likely to be very small, and is substantially smaller than that the implications of smoking," according to the RCP. In fact, the available data suggest the risks are unlikely to exceed 5% compared to the risks of smoking cigarettes and the actual figure may even be lower.

Vaping has already proven itself as a great way for people to quit smoking and for that reason alone we should encourage the habit. We all recognize that this doesn’t help the addition to nicotine but let’s try to reduce the risks that come with traditional cigarettes. This is very similar to our love for riding bicycles that we’d never say is harmful to us but we’d always encourage riders to wear a bicycle helmet to reduce the risk of injury. In similar fashion, we’d encourage smokers to vape to reduce the risks of smoking traditional cigarettes.

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