Learn How E-Cigarettes Are Changing The UK’s Smoking Habits

Are you new to e-cigarettes, or deciding on changing your smoking habits for a better life?

Cited as the most popular quitting aid in England, e-cigarettes are a viable choice for existing smokers who wish to give up, even the NHS agree. With just 15.5% of adults in England using tobacco on a regular basis, the rate of smokers in the country has hit an all-time low, partly due to the widespread availability of vaping products.

E-Cigarettes UK

Despite this, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in England. With a significant number of people still developing smoking-related illnesses, the Government has issued an updated Tobacco Control Plan, designed to deter people from taking up smoking and encourage existing smokers to quit.

Whilst the authorities may not be actively encouraging people to take up vaping, they have certainly recognised the benefits of these alternatives. Executive Director of the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, Dr. McEwan, echoed this, stating:

“…e-cigarettes are, based on what we know so far, much safer than cigarettes. Smoking is associated with a number of very serious health risks both to the smoker and to others around them. So switching from tobacco to e-cigarettes substantially reduces a major health risk.”

Although there are numerous advantages to using e-cigarettes, as opposed to tobacco, existing smokers often cite three main benefits; health, cost and convenience.

Improving your health with e-cigarettes

Many ex-smokers report a noticeable improvement in their health following a switch from tobacco. Until recently, some clinicians have been wary of branding vaping ‘risk free’ but the Government has now acknowledged the comparative safeness of vaping.

Whilst research is still being undertaken, the Department of Health has confirmed that existing evidence shows that:

“e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco.”

With many smokers eager to quit due to health concerns, vaping can provide an effective substitute. By still allowing smokers to access nicotine, vaping can satisfy cravings but is not believed to pose as many risks as traditional cigarettes or roll-ups.

Smoking Attributable Hospital AdmissionsWhilst e-liquid may contain some chemicals, studies have shown that the amount of potentially harmful chemicals in e-liquid is far less than the hazardous substances found in cigarettes. In addition to this, e-cigarettes do not contain tar, which has been linked to smoking-related heart diseases.

Due to this, there are significant health benefits associated with quitting combustible tobacco products, which produce harmful products within the smoke, and using non-combustible alternatives instead.

Of course, the impact on other people should not be negated. Whilst tobacco smoke can cause harm to anyone present when you’re smoking, vaping is not believed to carry the same risks as second-hand smoke. As the NHS have stated:

“…evidence available suggests that any risk from passive vaping to bystanders is small relative to tobacco…”

It appears, therefore, that vaping can be less harmful to existing smokers, as well as the people around them.

Secondhand Smoking Kills, e-cigerettes dont.

Reducing your outgoings by switching to e-cigarettes

The Government has confirmed its intentions to maintain high duty rates on tobacco products. The tax burden on a pack of 20 cigarettes, for example, is now over 80% of the recommended retail price.

In addition to creating significant revenue, authorities claim that this high rate of tax encourages existing smokers to quit and discourages young people from starting to smoke.

Historically, some forms of tobacco are cheaper than cigarettes and certain cigarette brands are more expensive than others.

In order to prevent access to low-cost smoking methods, the Government has introduced measures to reduce discrepancies between brands and prevent the sale of smaller cigarette packets.

Currently, the cost of vaping products is far cheaper than the price of traditional cigarettes and tobacco. Whilst e-cigarette users may choose to spend more on a high quality device this is often a one-off purchase which does not require regular replacement. Similarly, coils may need to be replaced more often but they can be purchased fairly cheaply and do not equate to the cost of tobacco.

Currently, retail prices for e-liquids start at approximately £4-5 per 10ml bottle. Whilst usage rates will vary between people, many moderate smokers report that a standard bottle of e-liquid lasts in excess of 7 days.

As the price of smoking has risen to approx. £7-10 per packet of 20 cigarettes, there is great potential for smokers to save money by switching to e-cigarettes. A daily habit which may have cost smokers in excess of £10 per day could be reduced to less than £3 per day, depending on the user’s smoking style, amount of nicotine, e-liquid and equipment they choose to use.

E-cigarettes costs less than smoking

With significant savings to be made, the comparative low cost of vaping may account for the large numbers of people who have switched from tobacco.

Convenience of vaping

The tight restrictions on smoking tobacco mean that it is increasingly difficult for smokers to find somewhere they can smoke legally. Whilst people may smoke in their own homes, Smokefree legislations was designed to protect people from the dangers of second-hand smoke, which means that smoking is banned in almost all public spaces.

Whilst many organisations have requested that people refrain from vaping in public spaces, Public Health England recommends that e-cigarettes be excluded from Smokefree policies, thus making vaping a more convenient choice for consumers.

Although the legislation governing the use of e-cigarettes has yet to catch up with the widespread use of devices, the Government has announced its intentions to support organisations which want to develop vaping friendly policies.

Smokefree

Currently, vaping remains a far more convenient option for people. It is also becoming more acceptable due to the fact that e-cigarettes are not included within Smokefree laws. It is, however, up to a venue owner to decide whether they add them into their specific policy or not. The more venue owners understand the benefits of vaping, the more convenient it becomes.

The future of e-cigarettes in England

With the UK set to leave the EU, there has been talk of limiting the relevant regulations. Whilst the Tobacco Products Directive does apply to e-cigarettes, activists are calling for the Government to review the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (which is the UK law of the TPD) following our departure from the European Union. Although the terms of Brexit have yet to be negotiated, it appears that a move to retain a more fit for purpose regulation in the future would allow vaping to continue to provide an alternative to smoking.

When HMRC consulted on tax of vape products, the feedback was overwhelmingly to maintain zero additional tax which means consumers will save a significant amount of money by vaping, rather than smoking. This factor alone could persuade smokers to quit in favour of e-cigarettes, particularly if the tax on cigarettes continues to increase.

With over 2 million people replacing smoking with vaping by 2016 alone, the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes is undeniable. Whilst cost and convenience has had a significant impact, it is, perhaps, health concerns which have been the biggest factor in persuading smokers to give up cigarettes in favour of vaping.

With existing research strongly suggesting that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco and further studies to be undertaken, it’s likely that even more people will move away from traditional cigarettes in favour of the health, convenience and cost benefits offered by e-cigarettes and vaping.

Liberty Flights stock a vast range of vaping product to get you started. Improve your life, save money and time and get quick delivery on all orders.

In this season of good will and peace to all…

In this season of good will and peace to all men and women, I thought that it would be remiss of us to not take the time out to reflect and share the events as they unfolded on the day that our Chief Scientific Officer, Lucy Robins, was invited to speak on Sky News about battery safety.

As members of the IBVTA, whose head office staff were in the midst of an office move, we received a call from Garry Dibley who asked if we could put anyone forward.  The timing of this seemed to be perfect as the IBVTA had finished their guide to battery safety only this week and was circulating it for sign off so we agreed to the interview.

Battery safety is something that not only affects our industry, but wider society.  In September of this year I was shocked at my own ignorance to learn of the threat that ‘button’ batteries pose to small children if swallowed. Battery safety is something that has always been on the agenda for us when selecting products, especially now that we are manufacturing our own range of hardware however the rise of rechargeable, replaceable 18650  batteries over more recent years to power the bigger devices being marketed brought this issue to the fore.

The interview was in response to a newly released video by the Fire service, showing a battery discharging in a man’s pocket after it was carried loose with coins. So in preparation we scoured the internet for media coverage.  In order to gauge the tone of reporting we checked the big hitters (or usual suspects) first.  The Daily Mail’s report was succinct and factual.  No undue hyperbole.  Not a reference to the morality of vaping or how vaping is a gateway to smoking or whether adults have the right to choose sweet flavoured e-liquid.  They pretty much recanted the core message.  Carry batteries safely and be aware of the dangers if not.

Next over to the Sky News web site.  Again, considered, not opinionated and on point with the West Yorkshire Fire Service mandate.

It was quickly emerging that the piece had rightly been put out by the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (@WYFRS) to alert people to the dangers that a loose battery can pose when in a pocket or handbag next to keys, coins or any other metal objects.

Fantastic, we thought.  A huge and welcomed opportunity to have a place on one of the largest platforms, from where we can promote the proper use of batteries.  Protect your batteries, protect yourself.

In preparation, we spoke to the Sky News producers, they asked what we wanted to say.  We wanted to distinguish between the two types of Electronic Cigarette devices available.  Those with contained power sources and an example of an 18650 and emphasize the fact that customers should always purchase from a reputable source and always use a carry case with separate cells.  The Sky News production team had been enthusing that same morning about the benefits of vaping and shared with us the impact that it was having in their social circles.

All ducks aligned, clock ticking we had a 1600 Skype test and a 1630 live time.  Lucy accepted the opportunity to speak on behalf of not only our company but also the industry.  A super informed person who has shared the negotiation table with varying members of enforcement and regulation bodies throughout the TPD implementation.  I feel it moot at this point to put on record our disappointment with nearly all of the TPD nuance and detail.  However, and critically, as a reputable business, that wishes to continue to trade legally and as founding members of a trade organisation that cares passionately, we have done our utmost to help the MHRA and Dept. of Health to roll out the law in the most commonsensical way possible, one that supports the vaping community and given the fact that TPD is LAW, we faced no option but to get on with it.

I digress…

Lucy, hair brushed and heart rate rising but not racing, steeled herself.  One last check of the notes and we even threw in the potential curve ball nasties that may come up.  “Your product appeals to children”; “You don’t know what’s in your products”; “It’s a gateway to smoking”.  All questions and debates that as operators within this industry we have mulled over and encountered myriad times.  Skype technical issues added to the tension and we had set up lights in the board room so that we could be visually, audibly and literally clear about promoting safety.

  • “Hi is that Lucy?” came the disembodied voice.
  • “Hello. Yes”
  • “Lucy Robins? One ‘b’?
  • “Yes”
  • “And you are the Chief Scientific Officer for Liberty Flights?”
  • “Yes”
  • “OK Lucy we will be going live in three minutes”
  • “OK” [Breathe in 2-3-4, hold 2-3-4, breathe out 2-3-4, hold 2-3-4 – a Quora tip I had picked up and shared with Lucy so that she could relax.]

One final prep from, off stage right.  You are the expert.  This is not a duplicitous trap to ensnare you.  We are aligning with the Fire Service to get across a key message.  You have got this.

Queue Ms Burley.

  • “Joining us now is Lucy Robins, Chief Scientific Officer at Liberty Flights, so are they safe?”
  • “Good afternoon Kay. First of all I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to…..[fades from my memory]

Sometimes the most effective and scary parts of a gruesome movie are those when we don’t see the carnage as it unfolds.  Perhaps we see a looming threatening shadow, or a splatter of blood.

The sensationalist diatribe that followed gave Lucy no opportunity to express concern at the, albeit rare and yet incredibly serious incidents occurring and how we might help to raise awareness by prevention.  Nor to perhaps widen the discussion to other power sources; I can remember a drill and phone batteries reference being ridden over roughshod at least once.  Not a glimmer of Lucy being able to riposte Kay’s suggestion that we should BAN VAPING ALL TOGETHER!  Throwing millions of vapers back into a life of tobacco combustion.  Not really much chance of anything that got close to a grown up discussion, in alignment with the Sky News production teams opinions (unless that was part of this Machiavellian plot).  The gravest missed opportunity by Sky was the bypassed chance to help promote the sole purpose of why we were invited.  To reiterate the message and help those in the Fire Services who give up their Christmas lunch and family time, all year round, to save lives.  Gone was the moment for us to inform vapers who may not know that they need to carry batteries properly. This was now an attack on e-cigarettes and not a discussion on battery safety.

That said, our heroine equipped herself with superb aplomb.  Skype connection dead.  Laptop closed.  Lucy had her WTF face on.  I pointed to her directly. Dead eyed her.  “YOU! Did an amazing job”.  For the briefest of moments, I feared for her well-being.  This was after all Lucy’s first major media salvo.  The only way is up.  I needn’t have had been concerned.

Met first of all by rapturous applause from colleagues at head office.  Hugs, cheers and the Rocky theme in her own head were soon followed by the phones ringing with endorsements for Lucy.  The first two of which were not even customers nor vapers.  A reflection of how as a collective, as media readers and as free thinking folk we want to be informed. We are intelligent. Educated and capable.  Give us the true facts, let us decide.

Twittersphere was a maelstrom of support for Lucy, including from Miss UK (an intelligent insightful and positive role model for women it would seem, debunking the oft over used stereotypical tags).  Surprise at the interview technique, and further debate.   The old adage of today’s news, tomorrows chip paper is truly just that old.  The spike and fall of the twitter commentary lasted for around 15 minutes.  Sign o’ the times.  Fast food, fast media, nutritionally suspect.

To, hopefully complete the circle and close the loop I would like to draw your attention to the video that the West Yorkshire Fire Service have released.  Yes, Electronic Cigarettes are mentioned, alongside hover boards and other devices.

Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.  I look forward to a reduced risk 2017.

Matthew

Liberty Flights 

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Global Forum on Nicotine 2016

global-forum-on-nicotine-liberty-flights

The Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) has been attracting stakeholders from around the globe for the past three years with GFN 2016 having participants from 44 countries including policy analysts, regulators, academics and researchers. The agenda for the conference brought together key industry professionals to present their research and hold rigorous and honest debates on a wide range of topics regarding nicotine and e-cigarettes. Liberty Flights Ltd. was represented by IBVTA (Independent British Vape Trade Association), and below we have summarised the presentations of interest from a few key speakers at the event.

Dr Lynne Dawkins (London South Bank University, UK)

One of the speakers at this event was Lynne Dawkins who has been conducting research into e-cigarettes since 2010, her most recent study which she presented at the GFN was ‘Compensatory puffing behaviour in e-cigarette users’.

As we all know in Article 20 of the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) nicotine strength is limited to 20mg/ml and, around 9% of all of e-cigarette users currently use above that concentration. The experiment was to determine whether e-cigarette users self-titrate when given a lower concentration of e-liquid, to compensate for the reduced nicotine.

What is self-titration?

E-cigarette users adjust their nicotine intake to maintain a personal optimal level in their system, this is usually achieved by puffing on the device for a couple of seconds longer or taking a few short, additional puffs straight after just to get that right hit.

Study Design

Two concentrations of e-liquids were used in this study one at 6mg/ml and the other at 24mg/ml, and there were a total of 11 e-cigarette users. All 11 participants followed the same procedure throughout the study which was repeated for both the lower and higher concentrations for each participant.

The results published show that puff duration, amount of puffs and the volume of e-liquid consumed was approximately twice as much in the lower nicotine strength compared to the higher nicotine strength.

Do papers ‘puff’ less when it comes to higher nicotine?

Yes. The results from this study show that the mean puff number for 24mg/ml was approximately 50% lower than for 6mg/ml. From this we can see clear evidence of compensatory puffing when a lower nicotine e-liquid is used. The mean volume of 24mg/ml nicotine e-liquid consumed was also approximately 50% lower.

Puffin-Topography-Liberty-Flights-Lynne-Dawkins

Fig 1. Puffing Topography

Is there a difference between hit and satisfaction when varying nicotine concentrations?

During the study participants rated the hit and satisfaction they got when using each e-liquid strength. The general trend is that users get approximately a 63% hit and satisfaction rating in the 24mg/ml, compared to 47% if it is a 6mg/ml e-liquid.

Positive-Effects-Liberty-Flights-Lynne-Dawkins

Fig 2. Hit and Satisfaction differences.

Using this data, we can see the possible unintended consequences of the TPD regulations. New users that require that extra hit and satisfaction will find it even more difficult with nicotine concentrations below the 20mg/ml limit. This will generally make it harder for users to replicate the strong hit and satisfaction from traditional smoking which in turn may impact successful quit attempts.

Dr Christopher Russell (Centre for Substance Use Research, UK)

Christopher Russel Ph.D. focused his research on ‘how vapers help smokers quit’. Vaping anecdotes, when supplied on mass can become a reliable and credible source of information. This study focused on what users could do to help the next person quit, by sharing success stories and the benefits of vaping over traditional smoking.

E-cigarette users in Great Britain

In 2015, 2.2 million people in Great Britain used an e-cigarette, of which approximately 38% had switched completely away from smoking to vaping. However, there are still 36% of smokers in Great Britain who have not yet tried using an e-cigarette. This shows there is a large potential to persuade more smokers to try e-cigarettes ultimately reducing tobacco related harm.

What benefits of using e-cigarettes are experienced by users?

In this questionnaire, a total of 200 participants were asked to select any of 83 listed potential health benefits and harms of switching to e-cigarettes. At the time of the study participants had not smoked traditional cigarettes for around 14 months with 96% vaping everyday using 1 to 12mg/ml e-liquid.

Benefits-of-using-ecigarette-Christopher-Rusell

Fig 3. Changes experienced since users started vaping.

The figure above shows participants listed an improvement in their respiratory health as the top benefit from switching to e-cigarettes. Other benefits included improvements to mood, sleep and hygiene. Information like this could be instrumental in influencing a smoker’s decision to try e-cigarettes and ultimately switching completely.

What are the main reasons for e-cigarette users quitting?

Every e-cigarette user has their own personal reason for quitting, and the well-known risks attached to smoking lead many people to reduce if not quit completely. The figure shown below is users reasons for first trying an e-cigarette.

Why-User-Quit-Christopher-Rusell-Liberty-Flights

Fig 4. Reasons for switching.

The cost saving implications, smell and social stigma of smoking are just a few of the reasons many have made the switch, and this should now be relayed back to smokers that are aspiring to quit just to give them that extra push. However, they should be made aware not to expect miracles when switching and that the change can be slow before they quit the habit completely.

What possible advice can be given to smokers aspiring to quit?

A lot of e-cigarette users are experienced and knowledgeable in the potential benefits of e-cigarettes over traditional smoking already and this can be used for the benefit of traditional smokers to help them quit. Many smokers want to hear vapers stories and experiences of using an e-cigarette before making the leap. In this study participants were asked what advice they would give someone looking to make the switch and we have chosen a few examples.

‘Every cigarette less is an achievement: going again after a slip is a bigger achievement.’

 ‘Small steps taken with purpose are better than impractical giant leaps.’

‘Define yourself by your achievements not your failures.’

‘If you smoke, don’t beat yourself up, it happens. Just go again.’

 Further motivational advice can be found on Dr Christopher Russell YouTube channel: youtube.com/vapershelpingsmokerstoquit

Neil McKeganey (Centre for Substance Use Research, UK)

Are e-cigarettes a gateway to smoking or a roadblock?

This topic is much discussed leading many people outside of the e-cigarette community to have the misconception that e-cigarettes act as a gateway to smoking. Neil McKeganey in his presentation, shed some light on this divisive issue.

Neil McKeganey carried out a study in which 120, 16-28 year olds were interviewed. This study focused on the perception of e-cigarettes in the younger community, the initiation of trying an e-cigarette and the perception of harm from e-cigarettes.

What do e-cigarette users have to say?

Below are some examples of questions and answers recorded during the study.

Question: What would happen if you couldn’t vape?

Answer: I would probably smoke to be honest.

Question: Would you say it is as harmful as cigarettes?

Answer: I wouldn’t say it was as harmful as cigarettes as I would say that smoking cigarettes is really bad in that other people around can get affected. Vaping wouldn’t affect others as much because it isn’t as harmful as smoking.

Conclusion

Most young people interviewed in this study saw vaping and smoking as being associated with very different harms. The predominant view within this study was that vaping had made smoking less attractive rather than more attractive implying that it is not a gateway to smoking. It may even be a gateway out of traditional smoking.

——————-

Minhaaz Dadabhai

Scientist

 

References

https://gfn.net.co/downloads/2016/Lynne%20Dawkins.pdf

https://gfn.net.co/downloads/2016/Christopher%20Rusell.pdf

https://gfn.net.co/downloads/2016/Neil%20McKeganey.pdf

YouTube: Vapers Helping Smokers to Quit.

Launch of IBVTA

 
 Logo

Liberty Flights is pleased to announce its involvement in the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA), a not for profit trade association dedicated to representing the UK’s independent vape industry and vapers alike.

With the recent uncertainty around the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and the changing landscape within the UK industry, IBVTA offers a progressive way for independent members to continue to work collaboratively in a challenging regulatory environment. This is most apparent in the formation of IBVTA’s Science and Regulatory Committee, where scientists with a range of experience and specialisms are coming together from the top UK companies to support the vaping industry. As part of their role they have been instrumental in engaging with the regulatory bodies, such as MHRA, as well as other professionals within the community. As a manufacturer with production facilities in the UK, this support and resource hub is welcomed by Liberty Flights and our own Chief Scientific Officer sits on the committee contributing to this collaborative approach.

Liberty Flights have always been committed to the vaping industry and providing high quality products for vapers. As part of IBVTA, Liberty Flights seeks to strengthen that commitment and ultimately drive the industry forward.

For more information, or if you are interested in joining IBVTA see the website below:

www.ibvta.org.uk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcSf8CRt4vk

Thank you,

Liberty Flights Team