February 9th, 2014

Let there be light! Guest blog from stop smoking service manager

Brilliant account of a stop smoking service thinking about the true mission, showing curiosity, innovation and passion. I hope the other services are inspired to try similar… open minded experimentation (and evaluation) vital in public health. It’s also a fine example of the empathy and humility in public health I called for recently.

Guest blog starts here…

By Louise Ross, Leicester Stop Smoking Service Manager

Note: views are my own and don’t necessarily represent my organisation

I’m really proud of my Stop team: compassionate and experienced, and with genuine commitment to improving the health of some of the most disadvantaged people in our communities, we’ve always had really good sign-up and success rates… until the end of 2012-13. Something happened to the number of calls coming in, and it was like a shutdown that seemed to happen almost overnight. It was of course, e-cigs that had caused this falling-out of faith with what we traditionally offered. I did a straw-poll with my team, asking them to count the number of times e-cigs were mentioned by callers or service users. We had around 150 mentions in a two week period.

While everything seemed to be grinding to a halt, I saw the invitation to go to the e-cig summit in London, November 2013. I knew that I had to equip myself with better knowledge about the devices, their appeal, and why they had captured the imagination of smokers who wanted to change their smoking behaviour. I was intrigued to see people vaping indoors, and it was clear that there was no smell. I talked to vapers, who were so helpful when I asked naïve questions.

The summit was a turning-point for me. I went back to Leicester, determined to find a way to make an offer to Leicester smokers that enabled them to get the extra support that would help them stop smoking for good, while not getting ourselves in trouble for ‘recommending’ e-cigs.

We started talking to a retailer who has a shop near our office – we got him in to two team meetings to talk about his own use of e-cigs, and what his customers say. This was the team’s own turning-point, and they were enthused by his sincerity and his genuine interest in the same things as they were – helping people avoid the real harms of smoking combustible tobacco.

Other supporters emerged, including key people in Public Health, a professor at Leicester University, a GP who wishes he could give them to all his smoking patients.

We ran a hugely successful E-cig Learning Forum in January, and one of the highlights was a Vapers’ Panel, where Leicester vapers told the audience about their experiences, and answered a bombardment of questions from the floor. At the start, we did a polarisation check – how many of the 100 attendees were broadly in favour, broadly against, broadly on the fence. It was about a third for each. We did it again at the end, and almost all the audience voted in favour. The Chair (Professor David Simpson) said he’d never seen such a swing.

Between us, we have devised a plan that will not only encourage Leicester smokers to see my team, but will also give them better information about the option of using e-cigs, with an emphasis on 2nd generation models for better results. As a thank-you for taking part in a longer look at what happened after they finish seeing us, we’re offering a £30 voucher to all service users who get to 4 weeks smokefree with e-cigs. This will give us some real insight into longer-term results.

We’re just getting the info leaflet ready, and I’ll share it very soon. I’m grateful to all the vaping tweeps I’ve met on Twitter who have helped me understand what I need to do.

Louise Ross

@grannylouisa

93 comments to Let there be light! Guest blog from stop smoking service manager

  • […] Ross is the Leicester Stop Smoking Service Manager and fronts up the Balls campaign. As she says in Clive Bates’ blog, “we’ve always had really good sign-up and success rates… until the end of 2012-13. Something […]

  • Yes the blogging system is right for quitting the smoking. In the blog we have shared the knowledge about harmful effects of smoking. Here we got the tips and instruction of quitting the smoking. We also provide different types of books and treatment to quit smoking.

  • Learning to quit myself. I’ve even started my own blog about quitting smoking the more I read the easier the journey has been.

  • […] by Clive Bates. You may remember Louise Ross’s brilliant first outing on this blog: Let there be light!. Louise runs the NHS Stop Smoking Service in Leicester and she was full of optimism for the […]

  • […] have found these products to be successful alternatives to smoking. We also have good examples of creative approaches to e-cigarettes in Stop Smoking Services and these products hold out considerable promise in some of most challenging settings.   There is […]

  • Great post, Very good information for the vaping world #eshisha4life
    http://electroniccigarettesreviewblog.blogspot.co.uk

  • […] Stop Smoking Service Manager, showing the way with humanity, empathy and humility (previous posts: Let there be light! and Who’s health are we talking about?).  Her new guest blog starts […]

  • Irish Lass

    Louise – this was such an inspiring blog and I would LOVE to know how things have progressed over the last year. Any chance of an update???

  • Lisbeth from Denmark

    So great to read and thank you for your support Louise.
    Right now we need the light in Denmark, cause the government is about to ban ecigs in Denmark. The have a law proposal at 140 pages and if this is going through, it will kill all retailers in the country and also the possibility of import.
    We are so frustrated and all media in Denmark are SILENT.
    Vape on and enjoy life…

    • Irish Lass

      Lisbeth – has anyone tried to start a petition to send to the Danish government to urge them to rethink this proposed legislation? Avaaz is a good site where anyone can start a petition. Everyone on Avaaz then gets an email asking them to sign. They have achieved some great results.
      Good luck – I hope that sense will prevail in Denmark……and in the rest of Europe!

  • That simple rule, “not one puff”, is the thing to keep reminding yourself of, because temptation will arise, if not in the next few days, then when you are socialising or having some sort of crisis and someone offers you a smoke. If you take it then you will be rapidly back to being a smoker again – that’s how addiction works. It can be so tempting to think just one won’t hurt – don’t believe it!

    So, when temptation strikes remind yourself – NOT ONE PUFF!

    Good luck and thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Adam Williams

    “ohh! it is great blog.About Smoking so we can lean various eddective thing in this site.I am 23 years old but I have not smoked yer and I will never smoke because It damage our lance.here is our website plase visit this website.It is also good.”
    I see the ANTZ are bringing in the big guns now.

  • ohh! it is great blog.About Smoking so we can lean various eddective thing in this site.I am 23 years old but I have not smoked yer and I will never smoke because It damage our lance.here is our website plase visit this website.It is also good.

  • Hi Louise Ross, amazing article and you are doing a fabulous job to save lives of many. Its really appreciated that you courage’s the people all around. All the best!!

  • Bruce Walton

    Louise,
    I smoked for 50 yrs.up to 40 a day, tried most ways to stop without success, bought a new E-cig, haven’t had a tobacco cig for 5 weeks and never will unless the legislators ban the one thing that works for me and many others.
    My greatest concern is that your common sense and professionalism will probably lose you your job for not toeing the party line ( not following laid down procedures )
    best wishes
    Bruce

  • kevin

    just a little tip for new ecig users you get more throat hit from pg (propylene glycol) based liquid plus its thinner and wicks good but vg (vegtable glycerin) is very thick and gives a low throat hit and a ton of vapour but because its so thick it doesnt wick that good.

    i prefer a 50/50 mix of pg and vg my self, a nice throat hit and a good amount of vapour to blow about plus it wicks alright :)

    wick absorbs e juice and the colis wrapped around it some where which heats it into vapour so no good if its not wicking dry hits etc :)

    keep up the good work louise your not alone my doctors are happy that im a non smoker even though i hold my big ecig every time i see them and my councillor is very happy about ecigs as well :)

  • kevin

    im a hopless long term heavy smoker, i was smoking 20, to 40 a day plus a pack of 12.5mg gv baccy if i was drinking at the same time, im now classed as a non smoker and i cant stand the smell of smokes any more,

    i haven’t touched a real smoke for over 2 years now and i owe it all to ecigs and the best thing is my dad who had smoked all my life is on ecigs as well and my best freind is also on them.

    we all started at 36 mg nicotine liquid on inadequite cig a like devices and now we are all sporting big mods with at least vivi nova tanks and were cutting down our nicotine intake eg im on 24 mg now and thinking of going lower soon.

    the best thing is we dont harm people around us and the harm to our selves is very much greatly reduced so i can enjoy my ecig and my gummi bear flavour im 30 year old and my dad is like 50 odd and he likes the candy floss flavour so older people like the flavours that people try to say are aimed at kids…

    i just ordered more gummi bear flavour 24mg :)

    i felt guilty smoking but im glad i switched i can do guilt free vaping at pennys a day (i use between 4 to 6 milli litres a day at 24 mg strength)

    it has saved my life i can taste food better and i dont get short of breath like when i smoked, istarted smoking at 13, im also getting a lot less chest pains that have plagued me for years :)

    good article its really good to see a positive view on ecigs, good work :)

  • Lyn

    Well done Louise. As a HCP (health care Professional)I really admire your client focussed approach.
    As a life time smoker, 40+years and 40+ cigs a day for the last several years I never believed I could stop. 3Months ago my exsmoker daughter introduced me to 3rd generation Vape gear! No cigs since. This has spread from her to about 8 other friends and relatives. Amazing!! I have done ALL the research and so can not understand the reasoning behind trying to ban or restrict this modality for tobacco harm reduction. I’m in NZ and can not buy nicotine E juice here but order on line from the US and have only a 4 day wait, so no problem. thank you again for your care of your target group. I think you are starting a revolution in your area. Good luck and keep up the great work you are saving lives and money. (mine for sure:)

  • Paul

    Hiya Louise, all,

    Great to read this – I’m relatively new to this, vaping that is, not smoking. I’ve been smoking since I was 16 and I’m 41 this year.

    I’ve been fag-free for 2 weeks now, haven’t smoked a single thing since I had my first puff of vapour in a shiny protank mini kit I got for £20, plus a few tasty juices that I am pleased to say, were not manufactured or marketed by any multinational tobacco or pharma company. I’ve been a slave to them for too long! I don’t understand why so many forces are aligned against what is turning out to be an anti-smoking revolution.

    Anyway – enough of my life story, what I want to know is, in light of the fact that everyone is saying there is too little research into vaping – where do I sign up?

    I’d like some tests run on me, I want to know if my lung capacity is improving, if any of the damage I’ve done to myself over the years is starting to heal. Is this something my local NHS smoking cessation clinic would be able to do?

    My wife has been inspired to give up, and she loves smoking. Literally. She was intrigued with my set-up, and had a go but she didn’t get on with the 50% PG mix I’ve got, it made her cough. She’ll probably need something stronger than the 18mg juice I use too.

    So I got some VG from boots and put that in a tank and she didn’t cough, she’s delighted that we found the problem. So I asked my eliquid supplier to mix some 90% VG menthol up – he did that today and stuck it in the post, my wife is going to send him some cakes. She has cried with joy at the prospect of being able to give up smoking, because she knows she is too weak to do it herself.

    So she would be a perfect test subject, as she’s not started vaping yet – in fact she’s filling the house with stinky smoke as I type…

    Here’s to a smoke free future for everyone!

    Cheers
    Paul

  • Done Smoking

    Alleluia! Thank-you so much, this has made my day.

    My wife and I were both hardened 20 a day smokers for the last 25 years and after trying vaping have not touched any tobacco since (two months). We’ve recommended them to friends and family who in turn have packed up the weed and are truly grateful to see the back of tobacco. Any attempt to discourage their use is absolutely disgraceful and will only drive people back onto tobacco with all the risks that go with it.

    • Bob

      Speaking of weed, I also used to smoke spliffs with unfiltered rolling tobacco – as millions of others do in the UK. I think the research shows that this is vastly more damaging to health than just smoking cigarettes or rolling tobacco.

      Since I gave up smoking tobacco, I started vaping weed too (not in ecigs – that’s not really possible, I’m using a much less portable vaporiser called a volcano).

      One thing that has amazed me is how much less weed I use now. I used to smoke about a quarter of an ounce a week upwards, and now I’ve just noticed that I’ve vaporised lass than half that amount in 3 weeks.

      I may actually be able to kick both the weeds if this carries on!

      I think this aspect of harm reduction is probably being overlooked because people are reluctant to discuss illegal drug use with health professionals. Or anyone. In fact I’m slightly nervous about posting this on here!

  • Lesley Law

    I discovered vaping a few weeks before the draft TPD, knowing nothing of the 2010 plan to ban (sorry, medicalised) ecigs. I found that within a couple of weeks I just forgot to smoke, just vaped. Then I learned of the plans for a de facto ban on ecigs and it terrified me. I’m in my 60s and have smoked up to 50 a day for over 50 years and had never managed to quit for longer than 5 days of hell, the 5 days cold-turkey, next best patches, inhalators, slight nic od and still wanted to smoke. I was overjoyed that I’d stopped smoking with so little difficulty although my main reason was to save money by cutting down but I’d accidentally quit. But when I learnt that ecigs were to be made useless like NRT I panicked and started smoking again, although 25% or less of the amount I used to. Knowing that I hate RYO but smoke them if I have nothing else I fear to be forced to smoke and hate the taste or risk death from black market eliquid. So I smoke again and pray that the public health authorities will allow me to vape 24 mg/ml plus for the rest of my life using 3rd gen devices, 5 mg rebuildable atomisers and any flavour I like. I don’t care if tobacco flavours are banned although I know that most switchers start with tobacco and lookalikes. Maybe the tobacco part of the TPD will cut smoking by 2% but PH will be throwing away the chance to make smoking history, or at least cut it down to a very small minority activity. But EU and governments seem to want more people to smoke, no other reason for the insane proposals that ignore all facts in the fear of ecigs or haste to destroy them. What the EU does is illegal, if only all stop smoking services welcomed ecigs maybe the ANTZ would find it harder to eliminate competitions.

  • I was a smoker for over 35 years and tried quitting many times using patches, gum, mouth spray, inhalators and pills. Nothing worked for me. In March 2013, I had a heart attack. After having angioplasty and a stent fitted, I was told that if I didn’t stop smoking, I could be dead within a year. Once again, I was given patches and a nasal spray. I only managed to stay off the cigarettes for a few weeks, the whole time was awful. I still had terrible cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

    Three weeks ago, I bought myself an e-cig. I started using it that very night, and three weeks later, I’m still off the real cigarettes. What’s more, I have no cravings or withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. My breathing has already improved vastly. I can now walk further and faster without getting out of breath.

    I’m so glad I made the switch to e-cigs. I know that I’ll never smoke a real cigarette again.

  • spinster

    Thank you so much Louise for doing your bit to save lives. So sick of watching friends die when there’s such a simple easy alternative. I will be forwarding this article to people I know who can make a difference.

  • It’s encouraging to see yet more support for a product that works.

    My wife & I quit smoking 1st Jan 2014 – cold turkey style, & for health reasons (we didn’t exactly want to). By day three, I was crawling the walls – as was she. We got into vaping through the advice of a good friend. I find it to be every bit as pleasurable as smoking &, being weak willed, I can’t think of another way I’d have stayed ‘quit’ for this long. I feel better for stopping smoking & my sense of smell has improved greatly: after a week of quitting, I noticed how much my car stank of stale smoke, it was horrible!

    It really gets my back up – the fact that whenever a new idea materialises which offers a viable – often better alternative to a accepted norm, an ogre with vested interests & political pull, comes to shut it down. That said, it’s nice to see cracks appearing, opinions changing & lies being exposed, with this particular battle.

    It’s been 44 days since I quit smoking. I do not intend, nor desire to go back to it, thanks to vaping products. Your open-mindedness to these innovations is commendable, Louise. Thank you for contributing to the improvement of public health.

  • john

    Clive

    Have your readers seen this letter from ” key scientists in the field of tobacco and e-cigarettes whose research is cited by the EU Commission and other public bodies interested in tobacco control” it is titled:

    Scientific Errors in the Tobacco Products Directive
    http://www.ecigarette-research.com/web/index.php/2013-04-07-09-50-07/149-tpd-errors

  • Sue Skillicorn

    How wonderful that Louise has put her head over the parapet. I hear about GP’s and nurses quietly recommending ecigarettes, and wonder how many people in the ‘stop smoking’ business share her views but feel unable to do so because of corporate pressure.

  • Rita Cheliotis

    Thank you Luise…you are my hero!!!!…thank you, thank you!!!!
    What a great spirit…against all odds!
    You keep us on fighting….there is no better lesson to learn!

  • Derrick

    I would like to add my support for Louise, and congratulate her on her approach. If only more people in the NHS had her insight, we would be saving thousands of lives every year.

    I switched to vaping nearly a year ago, having smoked for about 45 years! As I’m quite technically minded and internet-savvy, I was able to do this with the help of the various forums and shopping sites out there. I know many older people wouldn’t be able (or willing) to do this, and would benefit from a local support service to help them switch.

    Medicalizing e-cigs will be a disaster. I really hope I don’t get forced back on to cigarettes because I can’t get the sort of products I can freely get now. It seems that most health professionals and politicians just don’t get it!

  • Bill

    There is one factor I did not see mentioned in the above comments.

    Probably the biggest opponent of personal vaporizers (vulgarly called e-cigs) is the pharmaceutical industry.

    Not only are they losing revenue from sale of their basically useless governmental approved NRT systems, but they are losing vastly more money from their very expensive chemotherapy drugs and drugs for treating other tobacco associated illnesses. They will spend billions of dollars to stop PVs, in any way they can.

    The tobacco companies will push for regulations requiring stringent testing of equipment and juices. That will push the small innovators out and leave the market to them – since they will be able to afford the R&D costs involved. They will also work to get exemptions, for currently existing tobacco companies, from some (or all) of the regulations.

    • john

      This is very likely, the pharma NRTs are in Australia subsidized by the federal government. The profit margins are likely to be very large on these products.

      • Dodderer

        In the UK,the Nicorette inhalator costs £15 for the plastic tube and 20 cartridges(up to 6 cartridges can be used per day).Replacement cartridges cost £6 for 4.NRT enjoys a reduced VAT(sales) tax of 5% compared with the standard 20%.Even tobacco control think NRT is too expensive – although most NRT is obtained via prescription – £7.85 for 2 weeks supply – and free for the majority who use our publicly funded Stop Smoking Services.

        The latest UK research shows that NRT generally bought OTC is no better than ‘cold turkey’ – whether behavioural support can turn an unefficacious non-medicine into an efficacious medicine is a moot point.

      • Dodderer

        PS And thank you,Louise,for putting people first.

  • […] Brilliant account of a stop smoking service thinking about the true mission, showing curiosity, innovation and passion. I hope the other services are inspired to try similar… open minded experimentation (and evaluation) vital in public health. It’s also a fine example of the empathy and humility in public health I called for recently. Guest blog starts here…  […]

  • The best thing he can do is upload it to Slideshare and then we can include it here as long as it meets this blog’s standards for rigour ans originality!

    Clive

  • Louise Ross

    Thanks everyone, for the comments and the links. One of the presenters at the Leicester e-cig learning forum, Prof Jason Hughes, said he’d like to send his presentation as a blog. He’s strongly anti regulation as medicine

  • Jonathan Bagley

    Louise, you are a brave and principled woman. Thank you very much.

  • Ken Short

    Vaping has probably saved my wife’s and my own life’s, I a smoker for 50 years, nothing I have ever tried has had the impact of vaping, this alone was the only thing that saved me, how can governments legislate against something that is saving so many peoples life’s.

  • Adam Williams

    Fantastic Louise. I believe you could be the catalyst we need within the ‘system’Thank you so much.
    Adam.

  • […] Brilliant account of a stop smoking service thinking about the true mission, showing curiosity, innovation and empathy. I hope the other services are inspired to try similar… open minded experime…  […]

  • David goerlitz

    Louise,Thank You……..Now that’s what we’re talking about !!!!!!!!!!! Open minded and considerate is all we ask.

  • Donna

    Hopefully the tide is turning worldwide. Here in Australia, where ecigs are (almost) illegal, one of our Quit organisations printed my “successful vaping story” on their website. This was a surprise because apparently, those that had submitted ecig success stories previously were never published and in fact they still don’t support ecigs on their information pages. Fingers crossed!

    • john

      The situation in Australia is that you can retail non-nicotine eliquids and the electronic equipment. And you can import nicotine e-liquid, for personal use.

      Responsibility for regulation is split between our federal government and the 6 States (and two territories) of the federation of OZ. The federal government mainly regulates importation and excise stuff. The states mostly regulate usage. For example where you can or cannot smoke, is regulated by the 6 States,individually : in practice this means you can smoke in a outdoor bar in Tweed Heads NSW but not on the other-side of the road in its twin town of Coolangatta, Queensland.

      Australians these days import vast amounts of all sorts of small parcels every day. Policing the personal importing of nicotine a substance that can be bought (by adults) without a prescription looks like expensive nonsense. Australians are, on the whole,noted for pragmatism.

      Legislatively speaking ,given that all of the key components in the standard eliquid (bar the nicotine) are used in heaps of other quite legal products,it is hard to see how you could ban the use of non-nicotine eliquids. And nicotine, be it cigarettes or NRT can be bought in many shops,not just from pharmacies, again hard to see what legal basis for banning one particular form of it would be would be. And obviously all of the electronic components have other quite legal uses.

      And Vaping is not drunk driving as a community welfare/safty issue it is very small beer
      I think that it is an area where largely self regulated industry standards (backed with a bit of legislation) could work well, provided the price of regulated reliable ecigs is not too high- for any local supplier of ecigs, being able to display ‘we meet standards re purity and so on’ would give them a significant market advantage over unknown quality black-market imports.

  • Irish Lass

    Louise, you are a *STAR*! It has felt like we “vapers” were up against every public sector organisation and employee in Europe. To know that there is even one person in there who is not just swallowing the propaganda against e-cigs, but is prepared to actually look into the subject with an open mind, is just wonderful! I’ve been a heavy smoker for 40 years, and have tried all the approved NRTs and found they didn’t work for me. I really wanted to quit smoking but had thought it would never happen. Then I heard stories of people who had stopped smoking with the help of e-cigs and decided to try them. My refillable tank system, with glycerine-based e-liquids, is really working for me, hooray!, and now I’m very hopeful that before much longer I will be able to say goodbye to tobacco forever! That would be such a miracle! It would be just awful if other smokers were prevented from discovering and trying e-cigarettes because of terrible legislation in Europe. I have every finger and toe crossed that you and Clive and others like you may make the difference!! Bless you. And good luck!

  • Jon Holland

    I was stunned reading that, its fantastic that someone actually took a serious look at ecigs & realised the potential. Just think of the health benefits there would be if this was rolled out nationwide. I just hope that happens in the future & you get the credit for it that you deserve.

  • Louise Ross

    I’m stunned by all your comments, and grateful for the support. It makes me even more determined to make a lot of noise, and to do it with courage.
    To the people worried that I’ll lose my job, I promise I’ll strike a balance between speaking up but retaining professional credibility (otherwise I won’t be able to provide leadership within the NHS on this issue)!
    Some people asked about evaluation: there are a lot of questions I want to get answers on, like success rates, health benefits, financial savings, results at 4, 12, 26 and 52 weeks. I’m hoping that survey monkey will allow us to get some good info, and I suspect that there will be real enthusiasm for participation.
    In the meantime, I talked about e-cigs at our Trust’s Senior Leadership Group last week, and I’m already getting requests to do fuller team-talks about their use.

    • john

      Louise thank you, it is wonderful to hear this subject discussed by a health professional, without even a hint of moral panic :-)

      Hopefully a sane,balanced,to this issue will triumph over ‘prohibitionist/regulation for the sake of it’ type approaches.
      After all looked at objectively, inhaling a non-smoke vapor with some nicotine in it, is hardly drunk driving,no?

    • john

      Louise , some researchers at the Uni of Queensland , Australia, are carrying out survey research of ecig users, may be of interest, I will forward their email to clive bates

    • Mark Harburn

      Best of luck Louise, is about time someone with some common sense did this. Hope it goes national.

  • Christian Jakobsen

    http://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/help-and-advice/ecigarettes-and-hypnotherapy

    Well, the website for her company, doesn’t seem to have “seen the light” though.

    • robert innes

      “We’re just getting the info leaflet ready, and I’ll share it very soon.” It is early days and I have no doubt that Louise has to work within set parameters. There can be no doubt from reading the blog that Louise stands 100% behind us. She has taken a massive step but will still have to be careful.

    • This is the standard line from the public health establishment – the NHS is the national health care provider and like an oil tanker turns very slowly… People like Louise and there are others work from within the system to change it – but it will not happen overnight or without people taking initiatives that challenge the orthodoxy.

  • Alan Fletcher

    Thank you Louise for making my day. It has been made more than obvious to us vapers that politicians do not want us to quit and are not interested in human health. The Cancer researchers need cancer, the health industry needs patients, Big Tobacco needs turnover and the Government needs the tax on cigarettes. I lift my hat to you and can only hope that you yourself will not end up a target for these dark forces.

  • Great guest blog, Louise! Thanks! Meanwhile your word was spread all around Europe (and maybe the world). And posted at Pronik.org too.

    E-cigs will offer great possibilities for other stop teams too. As long as nobody tries to denormalize me – I am a smoker and a vaper – I wish you good luck, you will need it.

  • Tom Lewis

    Contempt priror to investigation has always been a problem. Refreshing to see someone that “gets it”.
    I have never understood why health officials and e-cig users have been in such a fight when we share the same goals.

    As e-cig users we want our children protected, want these devices and iquids to be safe, and most of all we wanted to stop smoking. Isn’t that the same as what health officials want?

  • Anthony Williams

    What a breath of fresh air, Thank you Louise , as a Leicester lad and formerly a 55year 20 a day smoker who swopped to Vaping 30 months ago and never touched lit Tobacco since, these 2nd and 3rd Generation devices really work.
    Well done Louise.

  • Luci Knauss

    Thank you for what you have done, as well as what you are doing. Congratulations!! I have much respect for you and appreciate your enlightened approach.

  • Dragonmum

    Louise Ross, there are no words to express the admiration I feel for the first person in a job-dependent position to put Public Health before political dogma; your actions will have started ripples which will end in a flood we hope.
    You have earned the respect and thanks of so many people by your enlightened approach.

    • It is a well known fact the E cigs are a “safe enough” alternative to cigarette smoking. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening to what vapers are saying. I think each of us who have posted are all singing from the same hymn sheet.We have eliminated or vastly cut down on the 4000 chemicals which we used to consume, by vaping E Liquids. This has, undeniably led to several health improvements, which have already saved the NHS hundreds – if not 1,000’s of pounds – for smoking related illnesses.The Pharmaceutical and Tobacco companies will not be happy about this and I question “why not?” Profits before health?

  • robert innes

    “Tell people that some nicotine-containing products (for example, electronic
    cigarettes) are currently not regulated by the MHRA and therefore their
    safety and quality cannot be assured. However, tell them that these
    products are likely to be less harmful than cigarettes.”

    You might be covered.

    http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/13018/61198/61198.pdf

  • robert innes

    NHS Highland will be reading this on Monday morning – e mail sent.

  • Cokin T Jones

    Thank you so so much Louise,
    As the days pass and time goes on, more and more people in authority are coming out in favor of the use of vaping as a real alternative and less risky way to quit smoking tobacco for good, I applaud you for speaking out and explaining to others the actual benefit that you have seen and they are struggling to get to grips with, this new technology is helping people stop where other methods are known to be less effective.

    I really hope more people in authoritative positions take your lead and speak out on this remarkable innovation as well, because if not and this gets stifled by all the goings on with the TPD, it will be a travesty to the human race.

  • Excellent to see a non-prejudiced view embracing this technology able to employ a benign ideology without calls for overly-restrictive and harmful regulation.

    The very best of luck and success Louise, in engaging with smokers, vapers, and members of the medical profession in providing a complete, inclusive and effective approach to smoking cessation.

  • AllyMac

    I read this and promptly burst into tears. Tears of happiness and relief that someone in your position actually gets it and is brave enough, not only to admit it publicly, but to act upon it. Thank you Louise.

  • Chris Price

    Sincere congratulations to Mrs Ross on her practical and honest approach.

    However I worry about how long she will be in her job. Her employment may depend on following rules, not getting results and saving lives. If the Dept of Health has any input, her contract won’t be renewed. They do what pharma says, to the letter.

  • Lizzie

    Fantastic Louise. You get it. Unfortunately ther are forces at work that want to see e cigs fail.

  • Andy

    Louise, Thank You, just Thank You. This has sent a tingle down my spine reading this. Maybe, just maybe, we can win this war and save oh so many lives.

  • Anthony Billingham

    Thanks for that, Clive.

    Can I just add to my first post, that the Northampton NHS recently published a £110,000 under spend on the budget for that department. Probably for the same reasons. See here. http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/health/health-news/nhs-fails-to-spend-110-000-earmarked-to-help-northamptonshire-smokers-quit-1-5801235

  • neptune

    To all vapers, and people struggling with smoking. Grasp this opportunity to make a difference. Copy this blog, and take it in person to the manager of your local Stop Smoking office.Don`t just leave it on the desk, engage with him/her and discuss it.

  • Spazmelda

    ^ oops! somehow posted anonymously. That comment is from me!

  • Anonymous

    Bravo! So many thanks to you for keeping an open mind and truly caring about the health of people in your care.

  • It is good to know that not all of public health has been taken over by the puritans. To vapers such as myself it often seems we are shouting at the wind with no one willing to listen.
    If the natural progression in common sense approaches continues those at the top will eventually be unable to ignore or sideline the truth.

    Thank you Louise for discovering the truth and standing up for it.

  • Deb Downes

    Community/Health workers doing what they do best, working with their community. Congrats Louise, you’re a shining light in a sea of darkness, well done!

  • Sarah

    Well done to you Louise, and your team for having the courage to take this pioneering step. It really does show how much you care about the people who come to you for help. It would be wonderful if other areas follow your lead – it’s really quite exciting!

  • David Moger

    Vapers like me, one year in and on third gen products, have two things in mind. First, selfishly, we want to carry on vaping and never go back to smoking and most of us will achieve this even if we use black market products. Second we want all the existing smokers to have the same chance we did. The TPD in its current form will take away the very products that moved us off tobacco in the first place.
    I cannot tell you how important it is that the Leicester people have taken the attitude outlined in this blog. These are the people who a lot of smokers turn to when trying to give up and with vaping it is so easy. A will to stop and the right vaping product and something like an 80% success rate.

  • Danwldr

    Loved reading this first thing in the morning

    At last someone looking at a safer alternative, rather then quitting nicotine altogether

    Thank you Louise for looking and taking an interest in e cigarettes as a less harmful way of smoking.

  • neptune

    This is especially relevant at a time when Smoking Southwest, the Stop Smoking Service for Bristol and surrounding counties, is under threat of closure. People are getting fed up of public money being wasted on a service that has minimal results. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. A revolution starts with a single person.Louise, you are that person, bless you. You displayed rare character and courage in actually listening to what people had to say, and learning from it. I hope you reap the rewards that you so richly deserve.

  • Great guest blog. Such a refreshing change to see evidence of an open mind and a willingness to consider innovative methods of approaching smoking cessation.

    As an aside, whilst some considered that open vaping during the e-cig summit was wrong and that vapering should not occur in public places, I think this blog provides further, anecdotal, evidence of the benefits of vapers vaping in public. It normalises vaping, demonstrates that vapour does not smell like burning tobacco, and encourages people, who have not yet tried an alternative to cigarettes, to ask questions.

  • Gordon Beard

    Fantastic that a Stop Smoking Service should introduce this commonsense approach ,it really is a wonderful innovation,that I hope may be replicated across the country.This will be a great success,huge thanks to Louise for her pioneering efforts to instigate this.

  • Louise Ross

    Thanks for the kind words! I’m really touched. Clive’s title for my piece made me smile, happy to keep it.

    I’m shocked by the risk that the TPD poses to choice and market development, and will add my support wherever I can.
    In my view it should remain as a consumer product with quality standards but no restrictions that affect its efficacy

  • Honest and truthful straight from the heart lovey piece

  • robert innes

    What a wonderful reaction to an innovation which will save lives. In terms of public health, Louise, you are a trailblazer. I cannot express how I feel reading this. Open, honest, courageous and intelligent are a few of the adjectives which spring to mind.

    Thank you.

  • Oh, okay…I should clarify “let there be light” was my title… An attempt to celebrate what I think is a breakthrough… Agree the evidence has been there for some time, but institutions move slowly and it takes a bit of guys and leadership to be the first mover in something like the NHS.

    I’ll ask Louise to suggest her own…

    Clive

  • Anthony Billingham

    Firstly, this is not a dig at anyone or anything.
    The title, “Let there be light!”
    The light has always been there, but to many people in power are determined to turn it of, for many reasons. We all know which is the main one, so I’ll leave that.
    I would like to thank Louise Ross, for looking into the light, and making her own mind up, about e-cigs.
    I’m one of the many, ex long time smokers, that have made the switch already. 35 years of smoking, and now 7 months free of tobacco in my case. Using 2nd and 3rd generation e-cigs/personal vaporizers.
    But even with people like Louise Ross and her team. Their work will be all for nothing, if we can’t get the powers that be, to stop article 18 of the TPD. What they propose, and what will be left after implementation. Will leave a product that will not work for life time heavy smokers.
    I know, I was that life long heavy smoker. That’s why I use large tanks and 36mg e-juice.

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