Can vaping help long term smokers quit? New research out of Norfolk says it could be the case
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Millions of people try and fail to give up smoking, but a new research project based in Norfolk may be about to revolutionise the issue.
Dr Caitlin Notley is a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia, and began research into smoking habits and vaping two years ago.
Having being granted £40,000 in funding, Dr Notley began speaking to patients who had successfully given up smoking permanently, thanks to using a vapouriser.
Dr Notley, 40, said: 'We did a call out for case studies, but because of the depth of the research we didn't need to speak to hundreds. Having said that, we were inundated with responses and have now taken our interview online because so many people want to be involved.'
The research revealed that vaping can indeed help support smokers quit long term, for a variety of reasons.
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Dr Notley said: 'We spoke to people about what they liked about vaping. A lot of it was to do with the hand to mouth action which replicates smoking, and the sociable aspect of still being able to be around other people smoking.
'Another thing that we found was that people who started on the cheaper, over the counter e-cigs were more likely to relapse. But the people who spoke to their families, and to vape specialists, managed to quit because they had a vaping method which was right for them.'
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Dr Notley, who is a mum of four, added: 'The really interesting thing we found was that vaping may also encourage people who don't even want to stop smoking, to eventually quit.
'These were our accidental quitters, they hadn't intended to quit smoking and had tried vaping on a whim, or because they had been offered it by friends. They went on to like it, and only then saw it as a potential substitute for smoking.'
Moving forward, Dr Notley and her team will be analysing the research of further survey participants as well as conducting follow-up interviews, to check their participants have continued to use vaping over smoking.
The research paper has been published in the Harm Reduction Journal on June 20, 2018.
'My lung health is now that of a never smoker': How vaping changed this woman's life
The public consultant working on the study alongside Dr Notley and her team was Sarah Jakes, who is heavily involved in the charity the New Nicotine Alliance.
Ms Jakes said: 'I was a smoker up until about five years ago, when I quit and changed to vaping. I began vaping becuase I got a new car and didn't want to fill it with the smell of smoke, so bought a vape.
'After two weeks I realised I didn't even want to smoke. I preferred the smell and sensation of vaping, and I knew it was a lot healthier for me.
'My lung capacity has improved so much since I started vaping. Exercise is easier, I can breathe easier, and I don't have the mornign smoker's cough. In a recent exam, my lung health has returned to that of a never smoker.'
Ms Jakes continued: 'Friends of mine have also turned to vaping, and I'd say I now know more vapers than smokers.'