SMOKING / VAPING
WHY IS SMOKING A BAD HABIT?
Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK.
Every year around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking, with many more living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses. Smoking increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions. Some may be fatal, and others can cause irreversible long-term damage to your health.
You can become ill if you smoke yourself or if people around you smoke (passive smoking)
It also causes cancer in many other parts of the body, including the: mouth, throat, voice box (larynx), oesophagus (the tube between your mouth and stomach), bladder, bowel, cervix, kidney, liver, stomach, and pancreas
Smoking damages your heart and your blood circulation, increasing your risk of developing conditions such as: coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels), cerebrovascular disease (damaged arteries that supply blood to your brain)
Smoking also damages your lungs, leading to conditions such as:
Smoking can also worsen or prolong the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma, or respiratory tract infections such as the common cold. In men, smoking can cause impotence because it limits the blood supply to the penis. It can also reduce the fertility of both men and women.
WHY IS BREAKING THE HABIT SO HARD?
Smoking is a hard habit to break because tobacco contains the very addictive chemical nicotine. As with heroin or other addictive drugs, the body and mind quickly get used to the nicotine in cigarettes. Soon, a person needs to have it just to feel normal.
People start smoking for different reasons. Some think it looks cool. Others start because their family members or friends smoke. Almost all adult tobacco users started before they were 18 years old. Most never expected to become addicted. That's why it's so much easier to not start smoking at all.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SIDE EFFECTS?
Besides these long-term problems, the chemicals in cigarettes and other products also can affect the body quickly. Teen smokers can have many of these problems:
Bad breath. Cigarettes leave smokers with a condition called halitosis, or lasting bad breath.
Bad-smelling clothes and hair. The smell of stale smoke tends to last — not just on people's clothing, but on their hair, furniture, and cars. It's hard to get the smell of smoke out.
Trouble keeping up in sports. Smokers usually can't compete well with nonsmokers. Physical effects of smoking, like a fast heartbeat, decreased circulation, and shortness of breath, harm sports performance.
Greater risk of injury and slower healing time. Smoking hurts the body's ability to make collagen. So common sports injuries, such as damage to tendons and ligaments, will heal more slowly in smokers than nonsmokers.
WHAT CAN HELP?
'Self-help' tips don't solve the issue. However, they can help you/others feel more in control when experiencing strong emotions.
If you find that 'self-help' isn't enough, consider reaching out to a counsellor or your GP for help managing overwhelming emotions.
Plan when you will quit. Set a date and have a target in mind. You may choose to give yourself a target to reduce your intake over a set period of time.
Remember why you want to stop smoking. What is your motivation?
Save up the money you would have spent on smoking products each week. Calculate how much you could save each week, month, year. And then plan what you would like to do with the money you saved.
Quit with a friend or find a support group. This can help with your motivation
Work out your triggers. What makes you want to smoke? Find new ways to combat stress and triggers and replace smoking with another activity.
Think positive. Look at the health benefits of quitting smoking and notice the subtle changes over time
Use stop smoking aids if you need them, quitting smoking isn't easy so take the support from your GP, pharmacy. There are apps available on the NHS to support you and tailor a plan to suit you
Make sure you tell others that you are trying to quit, if others know they can help you by not offering you something to smoke and give you some moral support
Take each day at a time. One slip up does not mean that you have failed. Refocus and carry on.
Increased risk of illness. Studies show that smokers get sick more with colds, flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia than nonsmokers. And people with some health conditions, like asthma, get sicker if they smoke (and often if they're just around people who smoke). Teens who smoke as a way to manage their weight often light up instead of eating. So their bodies can lack the nutrients needed to grow, develop, and fight off illness well.
IS IT THE SAME FOR VAPING?
Battery-operated e-cigarettes use cartridges filled with nicotine, flavourings, and other harmful chemicals and turn them into a vapour that's inhaled by the user. Some people think that e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes because they don't contain tobacco. But the other ingredients in them are dangerous too. In fact, there are reports of serious lung damage and even death among people who use e-cigarettes. So health experts strongly warn against using them.
Hookahs are water pipes used to smoke tobacco through a hose with a mouthpiece. Some people think they're safer than cigarettes because the smoke cools when it passes through the water. But look at the black gunk that builds up in a hookah hose. Some of that gets into users' mouths and lungs. And since they don't have filters and people often use them for long periods, their health risks might be even greater. Hookahs are usually shared, so there's the added risk of germs being passed around along with the pipe.
WHAT IS A DISPOSABLE VAPE?
A disposable vape is a single-use e-cig that has no set-up or maintenance. They are pen-style e-cigs, pre-filled with e-liquid and come with a charged battery. It cannot be refilled or recharged. You simply remove it from the box and vape it until the e-liquid runs out or the battery becomes depleted. Once it has stopped working, you dispose of it.
Most disposable vapes will last around 500 puffs, this is roughly equivalent to a 20-pack of cigarettes. They come filled with nic salt e-liquid with higher nicotine strengths, anywhere between 16mg – 20mg. The nic salt means that there is virtually no throat hit and they are a very smooth vape allowing the user to intake high levels of nicotine compared to that of a cigarette.
WHAT IS 'NIC SALT' IN VAPES?
You may notice on vape packaging the term ‘nic salt’ listed under ingredients.
Nicotine Salts are a new form of e-liquid which allows for a higher concentration of nicotine but with a super-smooth throat hit. Nicotine Salts also work faster to deliver nicotine to your system within seconds, satisfying your cravings almost immediately. So no ‘tar’ involved as you would potentially get with a ‘cigarette’ just nicotine. So although the risk from the ‘tar’ has been removed it doesn’t remove the fact that this is highly addictive and offers individuals the opportunity to inhale large quantities of nicotine in comparison to smoking a cigarette without any irritation to the throat, which is what makes these products very attractable to some.
WHAT ARE CBD VAPEs?
Well basically it helps you to relax and chill out, it also has properties that work on the endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation, and interacting with neurotransmitters to reduce pain. This is why many have found CBD very beneficial to their health issues, in particular, MS, Arthritis, etc…. I think the whole medicinal cannabis issue has caused some confusion among youngsters, but the VAPES there are using do not have large amounts of CBD in them and the effects are fairly mild.
There are some medical products only available on prescription such as SATIVEX (which contains both CBD and THC) that youngsters are also getting hold of. This would be an illegal substance without a prescription. If a person had oil containing THC (more than 0.2%) which you see being used in the ‘refillable’ vapes then again this would be illegal. The problem with schools/colleges or any other educational establishment is you would not know what was in the vape (refillable ones). However the disposable (pre-filled ones you may well know if you have the packaging and if not the disposable vapes being sold must meet the threshold of less than 0.2will %Thc in them).
WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS ABOUT CBD VAPES?
Firstly – all types of vaping are not completely safe as they all contain very small particles of oil which when inhaled can cause inflammation of the lungs, respiratory problems and in some cases lung disease. So although it is fair to say vaping is safer than smoking, they are not completely safe.
The other issue is what is in the vapes. As mentioned above the disposable ones that are literally all over the place right now, will have only CBD in them (and less than 0.2% THC). They can also have nicotine in them, fruit flavouring etc...
VAPES AND THE LAW?
No offence to possess any form of vape device (no matter what age). However, those outlets that sell these devices must make every effort to ensure the person is 18 or over. But as you are probably aware there are ways around this and for sure you may see local youths selling to the younger ones (as with any form of street dealing).
You can only purchase vapes (of any type (containing nicotine, fruit flavours or CBD for example) if you are over the age of 18. There are disposable vapes you can purchase with ‘zero nicotine.
Police can (and do in some areas) seize these from those that are under 16 years of age (but again this is very hit-and-miss).
Those outlets that sell Vapes that contain CBD (Cannabinoid) or any other non-medical product can lawfully do so providing less than 0.2 % THC in them (that’s the naughty stuff that affects the brain and is what makes Cannabis illegal).
Most CBD products (whether that be gummy bears, chewing gum, edibles, drinks, vapes etc…) generally have on the label or printed somewhere on the packaging the amount of CBD in the product (along with other things that have been put in). The confusion arises for example if someone wants to purchase let’s say beauty and health products (Holland and Barratt) that contain CBD or fizzy drinks that contain CBD and many other products, then the age of 18 would not apply. This only applies to vaping devices and refillable oils used in vapes. So it is all a bit confusing at times.
The CBD can vary quite a lot in these products – for example, you might get a VAPE with 25% CBD in it and another 150 % so it can vary enormously amongst the various products out there. This may turn out to be a problem in the future, at this stage I don’t really know.