The British Psychological Society has released a statement supporting the role of E-Cigarettes for helping smokers to quit.
The report states that 'success rates in those attempting to quit, even with the use of proven effective methods such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or other pharmacotherapies (e.g. bupropion, varenicline), remains very low. As a result many smokers want to quit but are unable to do so.
Quitting smoking is a priority for people with mental illness. Although smoking may seem to be relaxing, it actually increases stress levels and ex-smokers are more relaxed and happier after they quit.
As well as delivering nicotine, the smoking 'habit' is a powerful part of smoking behaviour and can be hard to change. The BPS says that "E-Cigarettes provide some of the psychological effects of smoking (i.e. mimicking the hand-mouth action, providing the feeling of vapour in the mouth) may be appealing for behaviour change since it can address both the physical and psychological aspects of the addiction"
Research shows that there is growing evidence that they work for many people.
Although not completely safe, they are estimated to reduce the harms associated with smoking by around 95 per cent. Reducing the harm associated with smoking even though this may involve continued use of nicotine (tobacco harm reduction) is a potentially useful goal that has recently been introduced in the UK.
The Society makes the following specific recommendations:
Public education that e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking and can help smokers to quit.
Combining e-cigarettes with professional counselling to increase success rates, for example with GP support.
Regulate E-Cigarettes to promote product development – allow E-Cigarettes to further evolve and improve so they are safer, more appealing and satisfying for more smokers.
For E-Cigarettes, avoid taxation and ‘vape-free’ legislation and promote unrestricted advertising of factual information.
Changing behaviour: Electronic Cigarettes, by Lynne Dawkins and Hayden McRobbie, for the BPS