BPS mental health organization endorses vaping

Across the world, mental health organizations are finally beginning to publicly endorse vaping as an effective and valuable tobacco harm reduction tool.   In early November 2017, the UK’s Mental Health & Smoking Partnership released a statement claiming that the benefits of vaping for patients suffering from mental health issues far outweigh those of traditional NRTs.  Now, the British Psychological Society (BPS) is jumping on-board the pro-vaping bandwagon.

One significant difference between the endorsements of the two organizations is that BPS seems to be supporting the use of vaping technology for the entire population of smokers. Co-authors Lynne Dawkins and Hayden McRobbie write a glowing review of electronic cigarettes while suggesting that smoking is responsible for approximately 96,000 deaths per year in the UK alone.  It is also their considered opinion that the average smoker reduces their lifespan by about ten years.

“Quitting smoking and nicotine use completely is the best way to improve health, however many smokers find abrupt quitting extremely difficult.  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.  It has been recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in relation to NRT, but there are other new and emerging nicotine delivery products.  Among these, e-cigarettes are the most popular and have the potential to both boost the number of quit attempts and increase success rates…”

The BPS statement then goes on to explain why vaping devices are more effective than other nicotine replacement therapies or NRTs.  Fittingly, the reasons relate to the psychological factors associated with smoking addiction rather than the physical.  Some of the key points include the following.

  • Other NRTs lack the speed of delivery of nicotine that e-cigs provide.
  • Other NRTs do not address the psychological factors of smoking, including sensory and behavior cues such as:
    • The urge to smoke while driving
    • The urge to smoke after a meal
    • The urge to smoke while talking on the phone
    • The urge to smoke while drinking coffee in the morning
    • The urge to “do something with your hands” by smoking
    • The oral gratification and physical sensation of placing a cigarette to the lips several times per day
    • And other emotional triggers
  • The e-liquids of electronic vaping devices lack the tar and carbon monoxide which are extremely harmful to the body

According to the BPS statement, vaping technology should be welcomed with open arms by all members of both the medical and governmental communities, regardless of their country of origin.  The organization also endorses the need to improve education about the health benefits of vaping while supporting the ideology that federal governments should increase taxes of conventional cigarettes while reducing the associated costs of vaping technology and e-liquids.  The BPS even suggests that the UK should be investing more financial capital on technological research while aggressively and consistently promoting the advancement of further product development with individual manufacturers.


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