As a harm reduction tool, vaping has become widely popular among many motivated smokers. Many experts see it as crucial in urging many smokers to kick cigarettes off with a less harmful and toxic product.
Unfortunately, widespread accessibility has also urged many non-smokers, young teens, and even children to use vapes, breeding a whole new generation of nicotine addiction. This has given vapes, which were originally made for smoking cessation, a bad reputation.
This also continues to cause a media flood of negative press, which so far has made no distinction between recreational use of illicit and dangerous products, and responsible use for smoking cessation of trusted and suitable pharmacy products.
Unsure whether you’re doing recreational vaping or using it for quitting? Let’s learn about their differences in this post.
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What Are Vapes?
Nicotine vaping products (NVPs) come in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavours, strengths, and most importantly, risk profiles.
Closed-system NVPs – like those you’ll find in your local pharmacy – typically consist of three components: the device that contains the battery, chip and safety mechanisms, the cartridge, and the nicotine liquid.
NVPs sold in pharmacies may look similar to the single-use illicit options sold under-the-counter in convenience stores, but that’s where the similarities drastically end.
Read on to learn more about the important differences.
Legal Pharmacy Vapes
Pharmacy vapes are made exclusively with smoking cessation and user safety in mind. NVP products sold in pharmacies are made under stringent pharmaceutical standards on the manufacturing process and ingredients, are toxicologically assessed for inhalation, are locally insured, and are specifically designed to help you stop smoking.
In short, they’re designed not for recreational vaping, but as a responsible option for motivated smokers who haven’t had much luck with nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) like patches and gums.
In fact, the latest Cochrane Review found high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than NRT in helping people stop smoking.
You can only buy pharmacy vapes if a GP deems you suitable for a prescription, i.e. after they’ve assessed that NRT isn’t quite doing the trick.
Now, onto their illegal counterparts…
Illegal Imported Vapes
Illicit NVPs (such as those in convenience stores and tobacconists) are imported under the radar, just like illicit tobacco and drugs, and are made as cheaply as possible for maximum profits.
These products are made in poor environments without any suitable standards, and contain dangerous chemicals that you’ll inhale with every puff. Laboratory tests have also shown that illegal vapes contain nickel and lead.
Unfortunately, these illegal vapes are easily bought by teens and even children, being targeted with colourful packaging and various candy-like flavours by their manufacturers with one end goal in mind: create a new generation of nicotine addicts and subsidise their lost income from dwindling cigarette sales.
Recreational Vaping: For Leisure, Enjoyment, and Status
We can view recreational vaping as similar to the early days of smoking – for leisure, enjoyment, and to fit in. While vaping was originally intended as a smoking cessation tool, many adults, teens and children use it simply for fun, with no thought as to the potential dangers of these illegal products.
As mentioned, teenagers and children are at the highest risk of recreational vaping. Nicotine consumption can harm the frontal lobe of teenagers and children, affecting their mood and impulse control, learning, and attention.
Aside from younger people, vaping has gained popularity among those who have never smoked cigarettes. The colourful packaging, sleek marketing, and inviting flavours make it seem like they’re consuming candy.
The increased awareness of vaping as an issue in schools and society has urged the government to ban the importation and sale of vapes designed for recreational use.
Over time, these illegal NVPs will be out of the local convenience stores and beyond the reach of most teens and children, and it’ll function as it was intended – to help motivated smokers quit.
Smoking Cessation Vaping: Pharmacy Vapes As a Quitting Tool
Trusted pharmacy vapes sold under prescription fulfil their intended purpose – to help motivated smokers stop smoking.
However, NVPs are still considered a second-line option for motivated smokers. This means that if the GP overseeing your smoking cessation programme finds NRT products lacking, they can prescribe NVPs to you.
With new regulations in place, GPs are becoming much more confident in prescribing pharmacy NVPs to motivated smokers.
Furthermore, people on their quit journey can be confident that their devices were made with smoking cessation and health in mind, and their quality will continue to improve over the years.
The Right Path Towards Smoking Cessation
It’s true that by vaping, smokers eliminate the 7,000 dangerous chemicals and carcinogens they inhale with each cigarette. However, motivated smokers should be the only ones using these devices.
Moreover, they should use pharmacy-sold NVPs made with their safety and quit journey in mind.
Many medical professionals agree with the government’s decision to ban recreational vaping because it will help to reinstate vaping’s image as a useful quitting tool rather than a plague unleashed to ensnare children and teens towards picking up where smoking left off.
Anyone who intends to vape should be an existing smoker looking to quit, and should do so with the support of a GP who can oversee their smoking cessation journey using trusted pharmacy vapes.
You’re most likely reading this because you want to know if vaping can be used for enjoyment or only as a tool to help you quit smoking. We hope this information helps.
Let’s also begin your quit journey today.
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If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
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