I love city breaks, in the UK and abroad, because I enjoy sightseeing, shopping, eating out and people-watching. One thing I notice more than anything as I’m strolling through busy streets, because of my job as a Stop Smoking Service Manager, is the ratio of people vaping compared with those smoking. I find myself doing a rough calculation in my head, and I’m always encouraged when it seems like vapers outnumber smokers. This for me is a triumph, for common sense, and for public health, and when I’m in Leicester, for the work our local Stop Smoking Service has done to get people to switch from tobacco cigarettes to a much safer product.
Last week I was in London, and it was really noticeable how few Vapers there were compared with smokers. Whether it was road-sweepers, office types, tired mums with prams, glamorous girls on high heels, there were definitely more lighting up, puffing and stubbing out than there were sipping on a vaporiser. This made me realise what a huge social change there has been in my own city, where you will see vapers everywhere.
We can’t take all the credit of course. There is a really good range of vape shops in the city, and we hear from our own clients that they appreciate the extra advice and guidance the shop staff offer, especially when they’re newbies who aren’t sure what to buy. There are also pubs and bars where Vaping is well-established and is a complete non-issue (I don’t understand why more don’t welcome vapers though; it would encourage even more smokers to switch, once they saw a benefit in not having to stand outside). The biggest credit has to go to Leicester vapers, who actively encourage their Smoking friends and family members to give it a go too. As one of our team said recently ‘All my vaping clients are turning into stop smoking advisors – they’re converting their friends in droves!’
So this is the point I was coming to: anyone reading this who knows ANYONE who is still smoking – tell them to try vaping for themselves. If they’ve been put off by bad publicity (formaldehyde, popcorn lung, exploding batteries), remind them that whatever infinitesimal risk Ecigs might carry (and most of this has been exaggerated by self-appointed experts with an axe to grind), the risk is negligible compared with smoking, which has you breathing in tar, carbon monoxide and a heap of other chemicals, all of which cause real physical harm, and none of which are in vapour.
What I’d really like you to do, if you live in Leicester, is direct them to Stop, and there are some good reasons for this:
- We’re really nice people, and we understand how well ecigs can help with stopping smoking
- We listen to people and help them choose the right way for them to stop smoking
- We care about the outcome, and give people the best help we can to get them quit
- Not everyone gets on well with ecigs, and if that’s the case we have other products that can help
- Some people do really well with a combination of ecigs and nicotine patches, and we can advise them how to combine the two for best effect
- We can help them move swiftly from vaping AND smoking to exclusive vaping, with the extra health benefits that brings
- Getting good data about successes with vaping helps the rest of the world see the potential of ecigs to get people off cigarettes
So look for yourself – count the vapers in your street, compare that with the number of smokers. See if you can covert a few more. You’ll be helping to turn someone’s life around.
BREAKING NEWS: There’s going to be a drop-in session to talk about this at Leicester’s first vaping café/bar, on Highcross Street. Come to Foxie Brown’s on Tuesday 22 March, 5-6.30, to meet me and a few friends.
Louise Ross, February 2016