As many people are facing the challenge of quitting smoking during Stoptober, Torbay Council’s Public Health Team is spreading the message that e- cigarettes are currently not your best method of giving up.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that mimic cigarettes. They are to be classed as 'medicines' from 2016, by medicine regulator the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency(MHRA)which means they will then face stringent checks.This move has been widely welcomed by medical experts and officials, as tighter regulation will ensure the products are safe and effective.
Until this happens, e-cigarettes are only covered by general product safety legislation, meaning they can legally be promoted and sold to children, and people using them cannot be sure of their ingredients or how much nicotine they contain. The MHRA will not ban the products entirely during this interim period, but will encourage e-cigarette manufacturers to apply for a medicine licence.
Torbay Director of Public Health, Debbie Stark said:“Until e- cigarettes have been thoroughly assessed and monitored in a large population over time, it is hard to know how safe and effective they are. E-cigarettes don’t contain any tobacco - only nicotine, but this still highly addictive.
“If you want to try a safer alternative to cigarettes but are concerned about the uncertainties surrounding e-cigarettes, you may wish to consider a nicotine inhalator. This licensed quit smoking aid, available on the NHS, consists of just a mouthpiece and a plastic cartridge. It’s proven to be safe, but the nicotine vapour only reaches the mouth rather than the lungs.This is as well as many other effective products and prescription only medications that are available.
“The best advice if you want to quit is to contact the Torbay Stop Smoking Service,and take advantage of all the professional help, support and advice they provide. With their help people are up to four times more likely to quit and stay smoke free.”
Paul Sheward, Stop Smoking Service Lead, Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust said: “Giving up smoking is a really big decision to make, so knowing that support is on hand is something that people find really useful.
“Our trained advisors can offer practical support and guidance on the best methods to quit smoking and become free of nicotine for good. All advice is based on the latest evidence and the circumstances of individual smokers.
“If you are thinking about quitting or have tried in the past and not been successful, I would highly recommend getting in touch with the service. NHS support makes quitting easier.”
Cllr Chris Lewis, Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing at Torbay Council, said: “The local stop smoking services continue to help thousands of people with friendly, supportive staff and most importantly expert advice. Although the number of people smoking is continuing to fall it is still the biggest cause of preventable death in the UK and giving up will not only reduce a smokers risk of getting more serious illness such as heart disease and cancer but they will also realise immediate health benefits.”
Support is available in most GP surgeries and even some pharmacies. The Torbay Specialist Stop Smoking service is based at Castle Circus Health Centre and holds many clinics, from Monday to Saturday, right across Torbay - so help is closer than you think. For more information or to book an appointment please call 01803 299160.
Further information can also be found at www.tsdhc.nhs.uk