Stoptober in Ashfield - are e-cigs a good way to ditch the smoking habit?

It is Stoptober this month and smokers across Ashfield are hoping to take up the challenge to ditch the habit for good.

By Kevin Rogers
Tuesday, 14th October 2014, 2:07 pm

New Leaf, the NHS Stop Smoking Service for Nottinghamshire, have been out in force in Sutton Idlewells centre to encourage shoppers to ditch the habit.

Across the other side of the Masserella’s cafe is the VIP electronic cigarettes stand, which are also taking part in Stoptober, by offering customers a free disposable e-cig.

Both offer different solutions to stop people smoking tobacco - but are e-cigarettes a good thing?

The New Leaf team will be at the Idewells Centre on Thursday and Friday this week from 9am-4pm to give information and advice.

Nicola Crisp, New Leaf Lead said: “The events we are holding at Idewells Shopping Centre are a great chance for people to find out more about Stoptober and the services we provide to help people to stop smoking. It also provides the opportunity for anyone who wants to quit to make that first step and sign up”

Stoptober is a great initiative, it’s a 28 day challenge that sees people stop smoking nationwide during October.

“Evidence shows that if a smoker can go 28 days without a cigarette, they are five times more likely to stay permanently smoke-free.”

There will be leaflets and goody bags available. The campaign is encouraging people to join and to receive tips and advice throughout the month. Smokers who sign up to the challenge get a free pack containing quitting tools, an option to receive motivational text messages, emails or register for the 28 day app. Smokers are also being encouraged to share their experience of Stoptober on the Smokefree Facebook page.

New Leaf provides a free confidential service across the county at a variety of locations and events. Advisors offer one to one appointments or group help with breaking habits and routines.

Treatments include nicotine – patches, gum, lozenges, inhalator, microtab and nasal spray. Advice about Champix and Zyban, is offered if they are suitable.

But New Leaf would not be drawn on the question of e-cigarettes: A spokesman said: “They are not something we provide as part of our programme so we wouldn’t comment further on them.”

The popularity of e-cigarettes has soared in recent years with an estimated 2.11 million people now using them in th e UK.

The World Health Organistion has called for them to be banned in public places because of questions associated with health risks.

Chris Pridham salesman for VIP Electronic Cigarettes at the Idlewells centre, said: “We are not trying to sell them as an aid to quitting - we are selling them as a healthy alternative.

“Some customers like e-cigarettes and don’t want to stop. Others do use them to cut down and then eventually come completely off using them as well.”

Chad reporter Andy Done-Johnson, 45, has been a smoker since he was 17 years old. He made the switch to e-cigarettes last year and hasn’t touched a regular cigarette since.

He is confident vaping has helped him to kick the habit.

He said: “I thought it was healthier than smoking and didn’t like nicotine replacement.

Vaping doesn’t impact on your health like cigarettes do. I have already reduced the nicotine strength. Andd I’ll eventually ween myself off it altogether.

“I would recommend it to people who want to stop smoking.”

For more information about Stoptober visit www.stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk.