The number of people in England using e-cigarettes has risen rapidly over the last four years, quadrupling to 2.8 million adult vapers.
However as their popularity grows, so too does confusion about their safety and a fifth of us still think e-cigarettes are at least as harmful as smoking.
Nearly half of us don’t realise that e-cigs are actually much less harmful than smoking as they don’t contain tobacco.
Hertfordshire resident Ruth Harrington has seen first-hand how e-cigarettes have transformed the lives of three members of her family, who have all quit smoking using them.
“E-cigarettes have been a revelation to our family.
“My husband has smoked for most of his life and had tried several other ways to give up, including patches, but nothing had really worked. Then when I fell pregnant with our little boy, he tried e-cigs and switched overnight.
“Our little boy is five now and my husband hasn’t touched a cigarette since. He’s reduced the nicotine levels to a minimum and is now looking to give up e-cigs too.
“My mother has smoked 20 menthol cigarettes a day since her teens. She generally kept her smoking hidden, but she was becoming more aware of the unsociable aspects, such as smelling of smoke and knowing that we didn’t like her smoking around us.
“She watched my husband’s e-cig journey then made the switch herself when we bought her an e-cigarette starter kit. Six months later my sister-in-law did the same.
“They all felt the benefits immediately; their breathing was much better and it was more sociable as they could ‘vape’ indoors at home. The grandchildren say that nanny now smells of biscuits instead of smoke!”
Whilst the best option is always to quit smoking completely, e-cigarettes can provide the perfect stop-gap for those who aren’t quite ready to give up nicotine entirely.
Vaping is not smoking and e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. There are no increased toxins in the ambient air from people who use e-cigarettes.
One of the biggest motivators for smokers to quit is for their family.
As Hertfordshire smoker of 36 years Stephen Iacovone explains: “I knew I couldn’t keep on smoking, especially with the children asking me to stop – it got to the point where I was hiding my roll-ups from them.”
Now quit for over three years, Stephen says: “I’ll never go back to smoking as I feel amazing. I feel clean inside, food tastes much better and I have more energy so I go to the gym now. The kids are much happier too which makes it all worth it.”
For information about how Hertfordshire’s e-cigarette-friendly Stop Smoking Services can provide advice about e-cigs and help you give up smoking, please text SMOKEFREE to 80818, call 0800 389 3 998 or visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/stopsmoking
You can also sign up to receive email updates about your health and wellbeing at: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/updateme.