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Wolverhampton Information Network

E-cigarettes & Vaping

Why not switch to vaping and ditch the smoke?

An estimated 2.9 million adults in Britain enjoy e-cigarettes (also known as vaping). They can safely be used instead of cigarettes as a source of nicotine which reduces harm. They can also be used alongside behavioural self-help tools as a way to quit.

Here you can find out more information on Quit Smoking.

The main health professionals agree that the harmful side of smoking is reduced if you switch. Watch the video to see how these people view their habit now they have made the switch.

How does vaping work?

E-cigarettes heat a solution, called e-liquid, which typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings. They don't burn tobacco or produce tar or carbon monoxide – two of the most damaging things in tobacco smoke, which you inhale when smoking cigarettes.

Are e-cigarettes / vapes safer than cigarettes?

  • E-cigarettes aren't completely risk-free, but experts estimate that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
  • E-cigarette vapour contains some potentially harmful chemicals also found in tobacco smoke, but at much lower levels.
  • E-cigarettes are made from nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings. None of which are considered harmful in the doses found in an e-cig.
  • There is no evidence that passive inhilation of e-cig vapour is harmful.
  • Many people think nicotine is very harmful to health. In fact, although it is addictive, nicotine is relatively harmless – it's the tar, cabon monoxide and thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke that cause almost all the harm from smoking.
  • Flavourings used in e-liquids are monitored and regulated to check they do not contain harmful levels of chemicals.

You can find out more about e-cigarettes and find answers to questions, including safety for users and bystanders, using e-cigarettes while pregnant and how e-cigs are regulated in the UK by visiting NHS Quit Smoking.

What are the different types?

Cigalikes look similar to tobacco cigarettes, tend to have small batteries and can be disposable or rechargeable.

Vape pens are shaped like a pen or small tube and have a tank to store e-liquid and replaceable coils. The batteries tend to last longer than cigalike batteries and are rechargeable.

Pod systems are compact rechargeable devices, often shaped like a USB stick or a pebble and use e-liquid capsules. They are simple to use and easy to maintain.

Mods come in a range of shapes and sizes but are generally the largest e-cigarette devices. They have a refillable tank, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries and variable power.

Please see the video by the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) for an independent introduction to vaping for smokers:

How do I decide which is right for me?

If you'd like help choosing the right e-cig and liquid, a specialist vape shop can give you lots of advice

In the downloads section of this page you will see a helpful guide on what to ask when buying your e-cigarettes. 

Can I get e-cigarettes from my GP?

E-cigarettes aren't currently available from the NHS on prescription, so you can't get one from your GP. You can buy them from specialist vape shops, some pharmacies and other retailers or on the internet.

An average 20 a day smoker will save money in less than a week when switching. Find out information on how much you can by visiting the smoke free cost calculator.

Will they really help me quit smoking?

Thousands of people in England have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette. Plus, those who combine an e-cigarette with free NHS behavioural support have a high chance of success. In 2017-18, two-thirds of smokers who did so managed to stop smoking.

E-cigarettes can help you manage your nicotine cravings. To get the most out of it, make sure you're using it as much as you need to and with the right strength of nicotine in your e-liquid. You won't get the full benefit from vaping unless you stop smoking cigarettes completely.

If you have any more questions about quitting smoking with an e-cigarette, your local specialist vape shop will be able to offer help and advice or why not try some free NHS support to give you the best chance of stopping smoking for good.

Pregnancy & e-cigarettes/vaping

As with the general advice to smokers, quitting smoking is best. But harm reduction is worth thinking about. Nicotine replacement medicines and vaping are both significantly less harmful than smoking during pregnancy.

E-cigarettes are fairly new and there are still some things we don't know. However, current evidence on e-cigarettes indicates they are much less risky than smoking.

Here are some of the unknown risks of vaping:

1) Little research has been conducted into the safety of e-cigs in pregnancy, but they are likely to be much less harmful to you and your baby than cigarettes, for which the harms are well documented.

2) E-cigarettes do not produce tar and carbon monoxide, two of the main toxins in cigarette smoke. Carbon monoxide is particularly harmful to developing babies. The vapour from an e-cigarette does contain some of the potentially harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.

3) Vaping has no known risks to bystanders, so anyone around you and your baby after birth who switch to vaping is really positive.

If knowing the risks you choose to use an e-cigarette, we encourage you to do so.

For more information please see the 'E-cigarettes In Pregnancy' document in the downloads section on this page. For further support and information can be found at smoking and pregnancy.

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