It’s a no brainer that giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. And we all know that smoking is an addiction which is hard to kick.
For many smokers, including my Dad, quitting is something they just cannot do and for us non smokers (or those of us who managed to kick the habit a long time ago), it is very frustrating to watch them indulge in the habit.
It’s even more frustrating where there are children in the picture and I think most parents and grandparents would do all they could to avoid exposing their kids to cigarette smoke.
Since 2007 smoking has been banned in all enclosed public places in the UK including pubs, bars and restaurants and all enclosed work places as a consequence of the Health Act 2006.
The law changed in 2015 to make smoking in a car in the presence of children (anyone under 18) an offence with a penalty fine of £50 if you’re caught. It appears that actual prosecutions for this have been negligible.
So what can you do if you want to encourage a smoker to stop? They will be well aware of the risks to their health and, in my experience, there’s nothing like nagging a smoker to make them more determined to persist with their habit.
One of the best things you can probably do is to encourage the smoker to cut down. My dad limits himself to smoking his pipe after 1 pm. Pushing the time horizon for that first ciggie of the day may help.
Other options to try are nicotine gums and patches or trying vaping.
Vaping is inhaling vapour from e-liquid through a personal vaporizer – a tobacco-free version of the traditional cigarette. E-liquids usually consist of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin combined with natural or artificial flavours.
The jury is out on the long term effects of vaping but studies so far seem to indicate that vaping is better for you than the traditional cigarette.
Here’s what the NHS has to say on the subject of vaping. There are clear indications though that the benefits are for those who swop entirely to vaping. You can’t vape and smoke traditional cigarettes and expect to see any benefit.
Newer research also indicates that you still should NOT vape if you’re pregnant.
As Cancer Research UK says, what we have here is the principle of harm reduction, where even though vaping is likely to be better than traditional cigarettes, the practice may not be entirely risk-free.
It should be remembered too, that vaping still involves varying degrees of nicotine and the practice was never designed as a quitting aid.
Anecdotal evidence suggests too, that whereas the cost of smoking traditional cigarettes could easily be in excess of £300 in the UK, vaping could cost around £30 a month – a significant saving.
The long term aim of any smoker should obviously be to quit the habit entirely but as a way of mitigating immediate damage to their health (and their wallet), vaping seems to be a viable alternative.