For fast facts on e-cigarettes ASH Scotland have produced a handy guide (pdf)
E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, are battery-powered devices that simulate the sensation of smoking. They generally consist of a mouthpiece, battery and cartridge. These devices heat a liquid to generate an aerosol, or a ‘vapour’, which you then inhales. The liquids typically contain flavourings, additives and nicotine. Because the liquid is heated and not burned and contains no tobacco, the nicotine is delivered without many of the thousands of chemicals which cause the significant harm and damage to the body.
Types of e-cigarettes
Cig-a-like’ products: Early models (First Generation) of e-cigarettes look like cigarettes in shape and size and sometimes referred to as 'cigalikes'. They include both non-rechargeable disposable models and reusable models. Not many people use these types of products now.
‘Tank’ models or vape pens: An e-cigarette with a rechargeable atomiser – the part that vapourises the e-liquid) - and a tank which needs to be filled with an e-liquid.
Pod systems: These are small rechargeable devices, often shaped like a USB stick or a pebble and use e-liquid capsules. They are simple to use and to maintain.
‘Mods’, or advanced personal vaporisers: A more complex tank model which can be manually customised, for example by adjusting the power on the device.
Are e-cigarettes safe?
“E-cigarettes have been available for purchase for just over a decade in Scotland. They have become increasingly popular. Based on current evidence, vaping an e-cigarette is definitely less harmful than smoking tobacco”. NHS Health Scotland
E-cigarettes are not harmless but experts agree that vaping is definitely less harmful that smoking tobacco. Thus, it would be a good thing if smokers used them instead of tobacco. Using both e-cigarettes and smoking is not recommended as it does not reduce the harm from smoking tobacco. Ultimately, however we want people not to smoke or vape.
Key point to remember about e-cigarettes:
Can I get e-cigarettes through the NHS?
No, as none of the e-cigarette products currently on the market in Britain have been licensed as medicines, they cannot be prescribed by the NHS. E-cigarettes are regulated as consumer products under the UK Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.
Products like Nicotine Replacement Therapy (e.g. patches, gum, lozenges etc) and Champix® are available from the NHS as they are licensed to help people stop smoking.
Although we cannot supply e-cigarettes, we understand that many smokers are using them to cut down or stop smoking altogether. We want to help those who are using e-cigs to stop smoking the benefit from the additional support our services can offer.
Local Quit Your Way Community Services* offer support to anyone using an e-cigarette across Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Give them a call to find out more about support available in your area. Click here to find your local service.
*Note: This does not include our Quit Your Way Pharmacy Service.