There's been a shift in trends and habits over the last ten years when it comes to smoking cessation. In years gone by, those wishing to throw away their cigarettes for life would traditionally reach for nicotine replacement therapies and nicotine gums. But today, many thousands of people wishing to kick the habit are buying e-cigarettes instead.

In fact, the rate at which smokers are turning to vaping is quite staggering. An estimated 2.6 million adults use e-cigarettes in the UK alone today and sales have increased rapidly since vaping was first introduced to the country less than 10 years ago. In 2013, sales of e-cigarettes stood at £44 million, but by 2014 this had become £193 million.

Of course, the question that health professionals are asked increasingly is, Should we consider vaping to be a healthy, effective way to give up smoking? The honest answer is that we don not yet know the full story. Research into the benefits and risks of vaping is still in its infancy. However, the early signs are that it can be an effective way to ween people off cigarettes and, in doing so, reduces consumption of the carcinogens and harmful ingredients within them.

What e-cigarettes does not do is reduce dependence on nicotine. Nicotine may not be the most harmful of the various substances that go into the average cigarette, but experts differ in their opinions on whether a reliance on nicotine is damaging in its own right.

For those advocates of vaping as the less of two evils and a relatively harmless pastime, there has been a strong case made for the use of electronic cigarettes within the NHS as a way of helping people to quit smoking. Others however believe that, due to the newness of the technology, we should proceed with caution before hailing e-cigarettes as the solution. They argue that we are not yet sure of the side-effects and the ways vaping could potentially be detrimental to health.

The jury is still out on vaping, and it could be a while until a more unanimous decision is reached as to whether it is a genuinely beneficial practice or a new, albeit improved, danger to public health. For those who are still unsure about e-cigarettes but still want to quit smoking, there are other tried and tested methods of smoking cessation available.

Nicotine replacement therapies such as patches are still a popular aid to quitting. However, one of the most effective treatments to help kick the habit is Champix. Designed specifically to help aid smoking cessation, Champix (also known as Varenicline) mimics the effects of nicotine in the body, reducing both the urge to smoke and the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting – also known as 'going cold turkey'.

Taking the decision to stop smoking can be the first step on a road to a healthier future. But we understand that it is not always easy to quit. If you would like more advice or support in kicking the habit, why not speak to one of our trained pharmacists today about the best way to quit smoking for you? Call 0208 123 0703.