Key Influencers and Decision Makers for E-Cigarettes
Why should you have to do this all day, every day, for years on end?
Now here’s something to ponder. A recent article in the online International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reports a study of vaping with the wordy title of the sort commonly found in scholarly medical articles: ‘A Qualitative Exploration of the Role of Vape Shop Environments in Supporting Smoking Abstinence’.
Six UK-based authors are listed, one of whom is Sarah Jakes, a businesswoman who sits on the Board of New Nicotine Alliance. This, surprisingly, is a Registered Charity. Ms Jakes’s enthusiasm for vaping is described thus:
[She] is convinced that a better understanding of e-cigarettes and other harm reduced products (sic) among key influencers and decision makers is required if these products are ever to reach their full potential for public health gains.
She might start by pointing out to these key influencers and decision makers, whoever they are, that vaping (we’ll leave the other harm reduced products aside for the moment) is not just a way of stopping smoking – it’s an alternative way of continuing to be addicted to nicotine.
Then we have the ‘full potential for public health gains’. What a wonderful expression! Everyone would no doubt love to reach their full potential and who would argue with public health gains.
But if we were to re-write Ms Jakes’s manifesto a little more clearly, if prosaically, we might end up with something like this:
Sarah believes that it would benefit public health if nicotine addicts were to change their way of dosing themselves with nicotine from smoking cigarettes to using e-cigarettes and other possibly reduced-harm tobacco products.
Why, we may wonder, is Sarah so exercised about this matter?
Because, she tells us, having been a smoker (i.e., a nicotine addict) herself for some thirty-five years, when she switched to vaping she found that
…the choice of this safer alternative for smokers was under threat from excessive and ill founded regulation.
What does she mean by excessive and ill-founded legislation? At present, it’s unknown whether vaping is safer than smoking. It appears to be, but only time will tell. What about the completely safe alternative, compared to smoking, of not using nicotine at all? This prospect seems so frightening for her that she’s worried regulation may make e-cigarettes unobtainable. And then what would she do?
The unfortunate situation that Sarah and countless other people are in should be seen for what it is. Once you’ve become addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes – something that can happen all too easily – you face a life-time of continuing to be addicted if you can’t cope with the prospect of just stopping smoking and being done with it.
Now, assuming that the key influencers and decision makers acquire the kind of understanding about e-cigarettes that Sarah wants them to have, this will be good news for the purveyors of vaping paraphernalia. And this brings us back to the qualitative exploration of the role of vape shop environments in the above-mentioned scholarly article.
The intrepid researchers sat around in vape shops with a clip-board for three hours at a time and interviewed some shop staff and customers.
And then this happened:
Interview and observation data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis and triangulated.
All clear? Not to worry. One of the conclusions of the study, predictably, was:
Vape shop observations showed that they extensively promoted their products and offered cessation related product advice.
Of course they did – they want to sell their products! And some of them did it like this:
[The shop assistant] actually took the time to ask me some pertinent questions like “when you smoked your cigarettes, did you breathe direct to lung or did you breathe it into your mouth and then kind of breathe it down?”
Vape shops can provide effective behavioural support to quitters to maintain smoking abstinence. Health professionals could capitalise on this through partnership working with shops, to ensure best outcomes for clients wanting to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking.
Is this really the bankrupt – almost desperate – position of the health service in relation to the smoking problem in Britain? Even worse, commercial interests are now creeping into the medical sphere, as shown in this comment:
One shop had received patient referrals because, according to the shop assistant, the shop owner took the time to meet with the local GP (family doctor) when he first opened the store and the GP was ‘fully on-board’.
So it seems the GP, being unable to do anything for smokers, points them in the direction of the local vape shop.
Nearly all participating vapers wanted the National Health Service to promote e-cigarette use including more information for GPs and even [to have] e-cigarettes available on prescription.
So these vapers think the government should supply them with subsided or free nicotine via e-cigarettes through the NHS.
Nonetheless, some vapers seem to realise the absurdity of the situation they’re in, as revealed in this comment:
Interestingly though, around a third of vapers interviewed planned to stop using e-cigarettes.
Alas, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
What underlies this whole problem is the belief that it’s terribly difficult to stop smoking once you’re hooked.
But if you go about it the right way – as I show in the Symonds Method – it’s easy to stop smoking without the trouble, expense and risks of e-cigarettes or other potentially reduced-harm tobacco products.
Text © Gabriel Symonds