U.K. Vape Shops Help Smokers Quit, Study Says

British vape shops are leading the way helping smokers quit cigarettes and find a healthier path.

Before vaping came along, quitting smoking wasn’t a particularly exciting thing to do. Most smokers tried to quit “cold turkey,” with no support whatsoever. The few that opted for additional support tended to go with nicotine replacement therapy products like patches and gums, or pharmaceuticals like Chantix.

For cold-turkey quitters, the low success rates and general difficulty meant it was often a disheartening experience. After a few days of itching for a cigarette, “I’ll just have one…” turns back into a pack a day pretty quickly. Patches and gums offer nicotine, but the sterile and generally unenjoyable nature of them makes it difficult to really “get into” NRT. As for the pills, the appeal is about on par with taking a course of antibiotics — and Chantix has a bad reputation for side effects too.

Vape shops are central to the appeal of vaping because they reflect its consumer-driven nature.

This is why vaping changed the game. All of a sudden, quitting smoking became something you could actually enjoy. Grassroots communities sprung up almost instantly, and pioneering companies and vapers started a never-ending quest to get the best experience possible. The consumer-driven phenomenon opened up a new avenue for smokers looking to quit, marking a huge shift in the landscape that many traditional organizations have struggled to keep up with.

In the U.K., support of vaping is widespread and many stop smoking services are “e-cigarette friendly.” But even in this permissive environment, most smokers are likely to head down to a local vape shop rather than a stop smoking service, and people who work in stop smoking services even use vape shops to get a handle on the technology. In many ways, vape shops have actually become the front line for quitting smoking.

A new paper from U.K. researchers – including Sharon Cox and Lynne Dawkins from the Center for Addictive Behaviours Research, and Sarah Jakes from the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) – looks into this issue in detail. How do vape shops help people quit, and can they do more?

Why are vape shops needed to help smokers switch?

The paper opens up by exploring why vape shops are important. There are almost three million vapers in Britain, and vape shops are the most popular places for purchasing devices and vape juice. It’s estimated that there are around 2,000 vape shops in the U.K., and while online shopping is also popular, vape shops in busy shopping areas are more likely to draw in curious smokers, and let potential new vapers try out the products. They’re also the best source of expert advice on vaping — for new vapers, and even for veterans..

Vape shops are central to the appeal of vaping because they reflect its consumer-driven nature. You aren’t being “treated for a problem,” you’re making a proactive decision to change your life — and the staff is there to give you the best chance of a successful switch. You’re free to quit the way you want to, with tons of choices and helpful staff to guide you toward the right choices.

All of a sudden, quitting smoking became something you could actually enjoy.

A previous study also looked into how vape shops may play a role in quitting. Riccardo Polosa and colleagues found that around 41 percent of a small group of smokers who bought an e-cig in a vape shop were still abstinent from cigarettes after a year, and about another 25 percent of them cut down. That study wasn’t absolutely conclusive, but it does support the common-sense idea that getting expert advice on vaping decisions would be an advantage for a smoker trying to quit.

The new study is based on interviews with 40 people (equally split between men and women) who had vaped in an effort to quit smoking, and observation sessions conducted at six vape shops (three in London and three in East Anglia). This approach gathered insights from customers directly, and also allowed a direct look at how vape shop staff interacted with people who visited their stores.

Read more at http://vaping360.com


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