Vapouround magazine ISSUE 21 - Page 73

Even anecdotal evidence taken from your local vape shop will soon reveal a common thread of camaraderie, mutual support and the importance of personal input and advice when it comes to maintaining smoking cessation. Getting – and keeping – our friends and relatives off of smoking (and remaining disciplined ourselves) doesn’t often happen in isolation and doesn’t begin and end with our body chemistry. Now we have the data to back our experiences up. “Because vaping is a more pleasurable alternative, our research found that a full relapse into smoking isn't inevitable when people find themselves having the odd cigarette.” Research into smoking cessation and nicotine replacement covers both physical and mental factors, and Dr Notley has made recent waves through her work specialising in this area. In her July 2018 study into smoking relapses, Dr Notley found that former smokers crave a lost sense of social identity. Years of smoking (especially when it begins in a formative stage like adolescence) results in seeing oneself as a “smoker” and closely associating the habit and its traits with their own identity. The study hinted that only through vaping could one fully shed the “smoker” identity, by having a full replacement for lost habits and activities surrounding their nicotine use. This new research all but confirms that and developing a habit of e-cigarette use provides strong substitutes for previously lost pleasures in smoking that go beyond mere nicotine ingestion. Nicotine isn't the only thing being replaced, but behaviours and mental cues triggered by the old habit. “E-cigarettes are the most popular aid to quitting smoking in the UK. Our previous research has shown that e-cigarettes are really important for helping people stay smoke free – by substituting the physical, psychological and social aspects of smoking." Dr Notley also mentioned how the inherent qualities of vaping do a good job drawing a would-be lapsed smoker away from their old temptations. She said: “Because vaping is a more pleasurable alternative, our research found that a full relapse into smoking isn't inevitable when people find themselves having the odd cigarette.” This finding doesn’t just represent a significant step forward in research covering vaping’s role in instigating smoking cessation, but in maintaining a smoke-free lifestyle for vapers. Dr Notley found that not only was vaping a more enjoyable alternative but had particular pull with former smokers. “There has been a lot of theorising around the process of smoking relapse after quit attempts. But all of these date back to pre-vaping times. This fresh evidence makes us question the usefulness of that understanding now that so many people are choosing to switch to vaping.” “For ex-smokers, vaping offers a pleasurable, social and psychological substitute to cigarettes – and it powerfully alters the threat of relapse. The old ‘not a puff’ advice may need revisiting.” The study, ‘Vaping as an alternative to smoking relapse following brief lapse’ and was funded by Cancer Research UK. It was published via Drug and Alcohol Review. VM21 | 73