Never has there been a better and easier time to quit smoking. Smokers can no longer claim that it’s too hard to quit. Neither can they claim that NRT and vaping is bad for them. In 2020 there is enough factual evidence from studies conducted by the Government and respected bodies that proves both NRT and vaping are a lot safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2019 by the Queen Mary University of London of a clinical trial performed which showed that vaping is TWICE as effective in helping smokers quit tobacco than traditional NRT products like gum and patches. Despite the vaping industry having entered the negative spotlight in recent times with a spate of lung illnesses in the US – the flames of this incorrect assertion fire, that vaping was to blame, we’re firmly put out by the UK government in Vaping England Report 2020 that showed clearly, and correctly, that vaping illicit THC products was the actual cause and not standard vaping liquids – vaping is becoming generally accepted as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco.
So Why Are Not All Smokers Switching To Vaping?
If the single biggest cause of deaths and illnesses in the UK, smoking tobacco cigarettes, is preventable, and with such a no-brainer substitute as vaping available to mitigate any withdrawals and loss of smoker actions – chugging on something that delivers nicotine and blowing out smoke. Why are so many smokers sticking with the fatal habit of smoking? It can’t be because of the lack of flavours offered by e liquid companies. Today there are so many great tobacco tasting e juice flavours that mimic the real thing and then some. It also can’t be that the vape devices are too big or too small as there are so many devices from pods to sticks to large powered mods available. And it can’t be to do with the cost as it’s way cheaper using and maintaining an ecig than it is buying fags. So why the hell are not all smokers flocking to the local vape shop to get kitted out and free themselves from the deadly habit of tobacco smoking?
The answer to this question has multiple answers, one smoker’s reasons for not quitting can differ from other smokers. However, I believe there some main obstacles to quitting the fags and below are some of the main reasons confirmed smokers keep with the habit and refuse to switch.
The Ostrich Syndrome
Trust me it’s a real thing. The Ostrich Syndrome is about human beings that choose to deny change – in very simple layman terms. Firstly, ostrich’s don’t really bury their heads in sand as they would not be able to breathe and would die. This analogy of the ostrich has become a real bona fide syndrome for some people. In the case of the confirmed smoker, especially one that is older, he or she chooses to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to smoking. They deny the health risks and warnings and block out all positive initiatives that could help them quit. They fill their blood with harmful toxins, restricting the oxygen in their body it requires to live healthy and setting themselves up for a 1-in-2 chance of heart attack, stroke or lung disease and cancer. Smokers suffering from the Ostrich Syndrome choose to block out reality insanely hoping that all the factual evidence will simply pass them by. They choose denial over change, if one does not look at the evidence that it won’t exist – they think. It’s very hard to communicate in an adult way with this type of person as they usually block any form of awareness that would require them to see the harsh reality they are trying so hard to avoid, usually because the two main fears smokers have.
Fear Of Change
Most people fear change whether consciously or unconsciously. We are creatures of habit and routine. Nobody likes major change in their lives especially when it’s related to an addiction like smoking. This fear of change can keep a person in a negative situation or habit blocking them from experiencing a better life. Changing from smoking the beloved brand of fags to a new form of nicotine delivery device like an ecigarette can be a massive thing for some smokers, especially if they are older. Change requires a new mindset, learning new methodologies such as charging, filling and maintaining vape devices. This can be a huge ask to someone that’s been smoking for 40 years and simply light’s up the fag. As vapers we know that in no time at all the whole ritual associated with an e cigarette becomes second nature and easy. But for some people the prospect of taking on this new way of getting nicotine can seem too much. Today there are so many devices to choose from it boggles the mind. There are simple click and puff vape devices with pre-filled cartridges, top fill tanks, bottom fill tanks, self-build and on and on it goes. It’s no wonder some smokers just think it’s too much to take on. The fear of starting a new way of doing things can be so big that one may be prepared to face the harsh realities of bad health and death than face the powerful fear of change. It’s up to us in the vaping industry to tackle this fear, helping hardened smokers overcome their fear and embrace the new. We can do this through easy to understand marketing, clear and simple guides and above all superior customer service.
If the ban on advertising or marketing was lifted then I think we would be able to encourage a lot more smokers to quit through giving them responsible and informative messages through mainstream media. Unfortunately, at present most smokers must learn through word of mouth and this can be like Chinese whispers at times confusing fiction with fact, so some smokers are left with a hazy understanding of what vaping is.
Fear Of Letting Go Smoking
The fear of letting go of smoking is massive, almost a neurosis. When you mention quitting smoking to a confirmed smoker you can see the dread on their face as they give 101 reasons why not to. One of the most popular reasons I hear all the time is ‘well you have to die from something…’ The fear of letting go arises in the smoker due to the false imagery the mind creates in them that they would have to do without something that they have relied on. They picture themselves, as a non-tobacco smoker, as someone who is missing something. This sense of not having something and having an empty space where their tobacco-crutch once was leaves them in literal terror. So, they cling to the denial and use all their willpower to keep the bad habit.
The benefit of ecigarettes are that they target this fear of losing something head on. As a safer substitute for nicotine delivery, plus the way ecigarettes mimic the smoking experience and actions, the confirmed smoker does not really lose anything at all, apart from the poisons and toxins that tobacco cigarettes deliver. In fact, the only bridge the smoker must cross is switching from the familiarity of the cigarette to the new vape device. Smoking as a crutch, a kind of negative Lionel’s blanket, creates a false sense of relief and support for the smoker. To let go of this crutch can be like looking into a dark abyss of nothing. However if we could properly inform the confirmed smoker of the benefits of vaping as opposed to smoking, about the sensation and flavour similarity plus the nicotine hit relief factor that e cigarettes offer this fear of letting go of tobacco would reduce to become a little bump in the road instead of an impenetrable wall of steel.