Only a quarter of GPs talk about using an E-Cigarette as a stop smoking aid.
The UK Government likes targets. Just about every part of our lives has a target: education standards, hospital waiting times, train delays, energy bills, recycling – the list goes on. There is also a target for the UK to become smoke-free. They want smoking among adults to drop below 12% by 2022 (it’s about 15% right now). Will GPs being given E-Cigarette training be able to help us achieve this goal?
Cancer Research UK (CRUK) thinks this is still too high. And with the right resources and training the number could be as low as 5% by 2035. The benefits to public health and the NHS in reaching this target are immeasurable.
There’s plenty of information and advice out there to make it happen and lots of positive vibes around the role that switching to e-cigarettes can play. Public Health England (PHE) habitually updates its advice on the use of e-cigarettes to help smokers quit. And the NHS has publicly stated that vaping is a proven way to stop smoking. NICE also issues guidelines to GPs about referring smokers to local support services to help them quit. This is on the basis that staff in local GP surgeries reach a larger number of younger and healthier smokers so can head off the longer-term health effects at the pass, as it were.
So What Are Cancer Research Saying?
Yet a recent report from Cancer Research UK finds that, although 84% of GPs will frequently ask their patients about smoking habits, and 53% will usually offer cessation advice, only 27% will include information about the benefits of using e-cigarettes in that advice. That’s around 1 in 4.
We know the NHS is under strain, and GPs cite the lack of time and resources to support their patients. But given that prevention is usually better than cure, CRUK argues that with smoking remaining the largest preventable cause of ill-health and premature death across the UK, the people dispensing primary care must make every contact count.
CRUK supports the evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers to quit, and among a whole series of suggestions they want GPs to actively recommend them. But this is in the context that currently three-quarters of GPs don’t even mention e-cigarettes as an aid to stop smoking. So there’s a huge gap in either training, recognition of their benefits, or both. Yes, funding for training is an issue, but not boosting access to this vital part of smoking cessation care isn’t an option either to hit the 2022 and beyond targets of smoking adults.
How Can We Help?
E-cigarette and vaping brands and retailers like us are here for smokers. We are passionate about all things related to vaping, it’s part of our mission to understand smokers’ preferences and provide information and advice wherever we can. Giving GPs access to the same levels of information and support can’t come soon enough.
Find out more about what we offer to help you quit smoking by getting into vaping at Vape Jucce HERE.