New guidelines NICE and Public Health England
Well respected medicines and healthcare body NICE encourages quit smoking services to make clear the pros of vaping. The guidance goes on to recommend e-cigarettes. Lets take a look at what they had to say about the advantages of vaping.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence provides guidance and advice for health and social care that is backed by evidence. The latest guidance on preventing the uptake of smoking and encouraging users to quit was released back in November 2021. For the first time it now recognises vaping of one of the tools to quit. Although it seems like a long time coming, it is a big step in the right direction.
Quitting With A Vape
The latest advice on vaping to quit smoking was developed by NICE and UK Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England). It says health professionals should get an understanding of the latest evidence. This will allow them to provide clear advice on why it is less harmful than smoking. Plus, further info on why it is an effective tool to quit smoking.
Further details ask health services to make sure that smokers have access to e-cigs. Plus, they are given the right info to help them use it. This includes knowing the right strength to make sure they get enough nicotine to kick their cravings. Additionally, they should make sure they are settled using their device in case they relapse.
Vaping For Harm Reduction
Another new addition to the guidelines is ‘harm reduction’. It recognises that some smokers will never be able to give up nicotine fully. Nicotine replacement therapy is a long-term way of quitting, but for some it may be needed for life. Although, it doesn’t specify vaping as there is more long term evidence available for gum and patches.
In some areas specialist support is needed to cut smoking rates. The main two are pregnancy and those with mental health issues. However, the latest guidance doesn’t offer any advice for these. The likely reason for this is that it is still early and NICE are waiting for more long-term data to be available. Smoking is very common among those with mental health issues, so unfortunately this means for now that they may not get access to info that can help them quit.
In 2021 the Health Secretary Sajid Javid discussed licensing e-cigs as medicine. Vape manufacturers across the UK are backing this plan. However, this will be expensive to roll out as well as taking a long time. The NICE guidelines also poses the question. Are medically licensed e-cigs needed?
The Technical Director of The Electronic Cigarette Company and Engagement & Stewardship Lead of the IBVTA Liam Humberstone stated: “Seeing our products alongside licensed NRT products in the latest NICE guideline is an incredible milestone. I sincerely hope that it leads to an avalanche of quit services seeking our support. They will join the many that we are already so happy to support with products, advice and training around vaping to quit.”
 E-cigarettes could be available on NHS to tackle smoking rates (2021). BBC News [online]. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-59083491
 Overview | Tobacco: preventing uptake, promoting quitting and treating dependence | Guidance (2021). NICE [online]. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng209
 Recommendations on treating tobacco dependence (2021). NICE [online]. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng209/chapter/Recommendations-on-treating-tobacco-dependence#stop-smoking-interventions