Posted on December 19, 2022 By Colin
AFTER 45 YEARS OF MEDICAL PRACTICE, and 8 years as Australia's first doctor to support vaping, I am finally hanging up my stethoscope. However, I will continue to advocate, teach, write and do research on vaping.
I have listed a number of doctors on my website here who can help with vaping and nicotine prescriptions.
My vaping patients have ranged from members of parliament, barristers and doctors to truck drivers, tradesmen and disability pensioners. I have seen patients from 16 to 85 years. Many had serious mental illness or disabling chronic health problems. Here are some reflections from my experience.
It's hard for non-smokers to understand, but many smokers LOVE smoking. One patient said to me ‘I love everything about smoking, the taste, holding the cigarette, inhaling the smoke, the hand to mouth action, it gives me a break and helps me think”.
Many see smoking as their ‘best friend’. "It has always been there for me, through difficult and good times", said one patient with schizophrenia
For many smokers, smoking is part of their identity and quitting can “leave a huge hole”. “Smoking is my buddy and helps get me through the day” said one. “It is one of the few pleasures I have”, said another
This is why vaping often works when other methods fail. Vaping replicates smoking and provides the rituals of smoking and pleasures of nicotine
It relieves stress, boredom and is more enjoyable than smoking for most. “I enjoy the flavours and I don’t stink anymore” is a common reply. For some, vaping becomes their best friend.
One said, “Vaping is like I am a non-smoking smoker” – all the benefits without the risks.
Vaping doesn’t work for everyone. However, many of my patients switched to vaping after countless failed attempts or relapses with other quitting aids. About a third of my patients quit smoking immediately, and never had another cigarette.
One lady started smoking at the age of ten with her babysitter. After years of trying, she said to me “I never thought I would be able to quit and would die young with a cigarette in my hand”. She was an ex-smoker within two weeks.
Another said, “Nothing worked until I discovered vaping. It has been a revelation! I tried everything.”
One of the major benefits of vaping is that it helps prevent relapse to smoking
“I kept relapsing during social situations. Vaping allows me to avoid relapsing’, said one. Another told me “I always went back to smoking when life got hard”.
Many say that having a cigarette is “repulsive” or “disgusting” after switching to vaping, making relapse very unlikely.
Continuing to vape helps former smokers cope with stress, boredom and repeated temptations, such as as having a drink or being around other smokers. Others find nicotine relieves ADHD and Crohn’s disease.
The health benefits of switching to vaping are nothing short of remarkable
Countless patients have been able to stop their asthma medication or no longer get repeated episodes of bronchitis. They “can breathe again” and can play soccer, climb the stairs or run around with the kids, which they couldn’t do before.
Many vapers asked “Why should I need a prescription for vaping when I can buy deadly cigarettes anywhere?”. The benefits of vaping to each former smoker are so clear and are in stark contrast to the anti-vaping rhetoric. The government’s opposition to vaping makes no sense.
Vaping is the most popular quitting aid globally is spreading like wildfire in Australia
Many of my patients have helped friends and relatives to make the switch to the lifesaving alternative. Vaping is spreading because it works.
Helping smokers quit has a huge impact on the wellbeing, health and finances of smokers and is one of the most rewarding things a doctor can do.
The personal attacks by anti-vaping zealots count for nothing when I get messages like this one from a 46-year-old lady living with mental illness and asthma, whose mother had died from lung cancer. She had tried all other methods repeatedly and had almost given up trying.
Vapers, you are on the right side of history. Keep spreading the good news about vaping and help other smokers make the switch. The revolution has only just begun.