Britain is putting the final touches to a nationwide campaign designed to boost public awareness of vaping and the health benefits of using electronic cigarettes, compared to smoking, to try get more people to kick the deadly habit.
The event, called VApril — a catchy combination of “vaping” and “April” — comes as more British health authorities have been urging people in recent months to switch to vaping as an effective way to get off tobacco. Around 100,000 people across the UK lose their lives to smoking-related diseases every year.
VApril is the brainchild of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA): the largest such representative body in the fast-emerging sector in Britain. It says the UK vaping industry is now worth some £1 billion ($1.2 billion) and has around 3 million vapers in the multi-country nation comprising of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Doctor in the House
The campaign is headed by Dr Christian Jessen, a British doctor who regularly hosts popular medical television programs such as Embarrassing Bodies and Supersize vs Superskinny. It invites the British public to “take the VApril challenge” in three ways. One is by attending free “Vaping Masterclasses” at vaping stores around the UK in April, where people will learn about e-cigarettes and e-liquids and how to get started.
The public is also invited to receive a free guide titled “Vape to break the smoking habit,” which can be downloaded from the VApril website. People taking part in the month-long vaping awareness event are also encouraged to share their experiences on social media, including a Facebook page set up for the campaign.
Dr Jessen said he was disappointed that around 40% of smokers in the UK have not tried vaping as a way to get off cigarettes. “VApril is all about changing this picture by helping more cigarette users to make a successful and permanent switchover,” he said.
“I personally believe vaping has overwhelming potential to help smokers break their habit, and this is important because stopping smoking is the single most significant step that people can make to improve their health,” said Dr Jessen.
Stubbing Out for Good
The UK’s much-revered National Health Service already runs a month-long stop-smoking campaign in October, aptly called Stoptober. Last year, for the first time, it threw its substantial weight behind e-cigarettes as a leading smoking cessation method.
“E-cigarettes are particularly effective when combined with support from local stop-smoking services — people who choose this route have some of the highest quitting success rates,” the NHS advised.
Last month, Public Health England, a government agency, published an update on its vaping advice. It said: “vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits” and that “e-cigarettes could be contributing to at least 20,000 successful new quits per year and possibly many more… e-cigarette use is associated with improved quit success rates over the last year and an accelerated drop in smoking rates across the country.”
However, it warned that “many thousands of smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking; around 40% of smokers have not even tried an e-cigarette” and said that e-cigarettes should be available for sale in state hospital shops and free of prescription.
Heavyweight Vaping Support
Even the Royal College of Physicians, one of the oldest and more revered medical establishments in the world, has chimed in on vaping. E-cigarettes, it declared, should be widely promoted as a substitute for smoking because they “are likely to be beneficial to UK public health. Smokers can therefore be reassured and encouraged to use them, and the public can be reassured that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking.”
Pascal Culverhouse, whose company Electric Tobacconist is a UKVIA member and has operations in the UK and the US, said VApril was an important development in helping to save people from the perils of smoking.
“In Britain and increasingly in the US, we’re seeing vaping become mainstream, as more people use e-cigarettes to stop smoking and do so successfully,” he said. “We’re proud to support VApril as an initiative to help drive down smoking rates and make people healthier.”
Spinfuel VAPE fully endorses the efforts of the UKVIA and are hopeful about the success of VApril. We will doing whatever we can to assist our friends in the United Kingdom during this push to bring the truth to the public.