The rise in popularity of e-cigarettes in the UK may have resulted in more successful attempts to quit smoking, according to UK researchers. But health professionals say the most effective way to quit smoking remains through prescription medication and other treatments including professional support from free local NHS stop-smoking services.
Sales of e-cigarettes have been rising steadily since they first went on sale in the UK, in 2007. They are now used by nearly three million people in the UK, reports the BBC.
Meanwhile, a study comparing the effect of e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes on smokers’ health has being launched by Dundee University and the project will test the effects of both types of cigarette on volunteers’ blood vessel function, a key health indicator.
The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation, will recruit 135 adult volunteers who have smoked 15 cigarettes a day for a minimum of two years.
But are they any better?
E-cigarettes, while relatively new on the market, are said to be safer in that they deliver nicotine through a vapour and not smoke. However, this doesn’t mean the devices always represent a safer step down from cigarettes, says the website livescience.com.
“In fact, one of the most dangerous things about e-cigarettes is that they may keep people smoking conventional cigarettes longer, rather than encourage them to attempt to quit,” says Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine and the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr Michael Siegel, a tobacco researcher and professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health warns that nicotine is poisonous in its concentrated, e-liquid form, and there have been an increasing number of cases of it being accidentally ingested by infants and children.
So it still seems the best way to quit smoking and break the habit is through other means – like clinical hypnotherapy. The UK’s leading professional hypnotherapy organisation, the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH), says helping people stop smoking is one of hypnotherapy’s major successes.
It describes smoking as a ‘problem behaviour’ which is an addiction or unwanted habit and adds that smoking is the most common of these unwanted habits which affect people’s lives.
“It can make them unhappy or cause a risk to their health and the health of those around them,” says the NCH.
“The reason why hypnotherapy works so rapidly with bad habits and behaviours is because it works directly with your subconscious, bypassing the critical mind and getting to the root of the issue so that changes can be made that support your goals quickly and efficiently,” says the NCH.
The body adds that a physical addiction to cigarettes can be over after just one week while research shows that by quitting smoking with hypnosis is three times more likely to succeed than nicotine patch use.
“It is important to understand your motivation for giving up in order to give up,” says the NCH, adding that the number of sessions required will vary according to the habit but as smoking is a habit that one can give up for good, the therapist may use what is known as aversion techniques which will put the smoker off having another cigarette.