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Smoking cessation tools have been around for some time. Doctors and health professionals quite often recommend patches, lozenges, sprays, and gum to the 490,000 people who still smoke in New Zealand.
These tools are useful in providing nicotine to the smoker while making them less likely to reach for a cigarette. But what are those smokers supposed to do when they find that those tools don’t work for them or aren’t enough to help them quit or reduce their tobacco use?
Vaping is playing a significant role in helping Kiwis quit smoking – and putting us one step closer to becoming a smoke-free country.
A Look at the Stats
It’s clear to see we’ve come a long way already. In 1996 and 1997, a quarter of adults in New Zealand smoked. Now, only around 12.5% do. About 65% of New Zealanders have also never smoked regularly, and nearly 970,000 have quit. Ka pai, New Zealand, we’re doing great!
Quitting Smoking with Vaping
However, some people find it harder to quit smoking than others, which means that traditional cessation tools are not enough. In that case, people may like to turn to vaping to help them cut down on cigarettes or remove them from their life altogether.
For example, a quit smoking program called Te Hā runs in the top of the South Island, operated by Maori primary health provider Te Piki Oranga. This programme uses vaping as a stepping stone and has seen as many as 70% of its participants cut down their cigarette smoking or quit altogether.
Out of over 100 to take part in the Nelson-Tasman area, around 90 percent of them used vaping devices to quit. Many of those participants hadn’t been able to quit smoking using other methods, like gum, patches, and lozenges.
The programme supports Maori, Pacific Islanders, pregnant women, and vulnerable whanau on their journey to becoming smoke-free. All products in the programme are free, including the first vape pod and device, and access to patches, lozenges, nicotine gum, if they want them.
According to the Te Piki Oranga quit coach Sonia Hepi-Treanor, vaping was a preferred option for being able to offer smokers nicotine without toxic gases. It would also satisfy that habitual hand-to-mouth action that could make quitting smoking so challenging.
Research shows that those who have support for quitting smoking are far more likely to do so than those who have no support at all.
Money Saved by Vaping Instead of Smoking
If support from local initiatives isn’t enough to convince you to quit smoking, then the significant monetary savings might. A 20-a-day smoker can spend as much as $9,000 per year on smokes while vaping can cost around $900 per year in comparison.
A 20-a-day smoker may also spend $188 per week on cigarettes, versus around $15 on vaping. Depending on how much you vape, that cost may be even lower. You can compare the costs of smoking versus vaping here.
What Health Boards in NZ Have to Say About Vaping
No health board or government agency will say that vaping is entirely harmless. However, many of them – if not all of them – will say it’s far less harmful to your health than smoking from research we’ve gathered so far.
Many medical centres will actively encourage people to try vaping if they are not able to quit smoking with traditional cessation tools or cold turkey.
Take the Whanganui District Health Board, for example. They state that vaping can help some people quit smoking, is usually cheaper than smoking, and is less harmful to you and those around you.
They also state something we already know – that it offers a similar experience to smoking, which can be preferable for those who haven’t found patches, gum, and lozenges effective.
The Whanganui District Health Board also has tips for people thinking about transitioning from smoking to vaping:
- Ask for help
- Persevere as it can take time to find the right combination that works for you
- Talk to specialist vape shop staff
- Experiment with different devices, e-liquids, and nicotine strengths to find the right one for you
- Be aware of side effects like coughing, dry mouth, throat irritation, and headaches
- Keep your e-liquid and vape products away from pets and children
- Don’t vape in smoke-free areas
I want to Try Vaping to Quit Smoking
First of all, congratulations! Quitting smoking is not easy, but it is possible. Align yourself with a quit-smoking community and talk to vape suppliers. With their guidance, you can arm yourself with the right combination of e-liquids, vape products, and nicotine strengths to successfully transition from smoking to vaping.
It’s important to note that you may not get it right the first time. However, perseverance is key. Be patient, and you can be on the road to being smoke-free in no time.