Quit smoking services should be launched in vape shops to give smokers a better chance of success, a new Cancer Research-funded study has revealed.
Healthcare professionals working inside reputable vape stores might provide effective support for those wanting to make the switch to e-cigarettes, the research found.
The study, funded by the reputable UK charity, saw researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) interview 40 smokers making the switch from cigarettes to vaping while observing how the environment of six vape shops affected and supported them in the quitting process.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, showed shop assistants supported quit attempts through trying to understand customers’ smoking preferences, directing them to the most appropriate product and providing ongoing support.
It also revealed many of the participants felt the vape shops had a relaxing “café” feel, although some women found the environment to feel very “masculine”.
“Very much like a traditional pub with men joking and discussing hardware and vaping,” the report highlighted.
But as well as vape shop assistants generally helping the smokers in their quitting process, the research also concluded that, “health professionals could capitalize on this through partnership working with shops, to ensure best outcomes for clients wanting to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking.”
Principal investigator of the study, Caitlin Notley, a Society for the Study of Addiction Research Fellow at UEA’s Norwich Medical School, added that most of the shops were interested in working more closely with health professionals.
“Health professionals should consider engaging with the local vaping community to avoid referring clients to shops offering poor customer service or inappropriate, sales-driven advice,” she said. “Likewise, smoking-cessation training for shops could be beneficial.”
The news comes a week after Public Health England advised hospitals should sell e-cigarettes and provide vaping lounges, while e-cigarettes should be made available on NHS prescription.