I regularly get calls for help to stop smoking (see a great case study here). I am now increasingly being asked to help people to stop vaping (see the Facebook recommendation).
Vaping is generally a good thing but while it might help you stop smoking, it is, itself, not an entirely healthy habit. Indeed, the UK Health Security Agency advice on this is:
Our advice remains that people who smoke are better to switch completely to vaping but if you have never been a smoker, don’t start to vape.
In this article I address some of the issues associated with vaping.
How big is vaping?
Vaping was first introduced to the UK in 2007 at which time there were about 7m users worldwide. By 2014 that had jumped to 25 million and was estimated to be as high as 82 million last year! Clearly numbers are growing exponentially.
We see evidence of this growth daily in the streets both pedestrians and drivers alike with their vape permanently locked in their ‘spare’ hand. Oddly, the only year in which vaping reduced in Great Britain was in 2020 (Lockdown year):
What are the known goods of Vaping
It has proven very effective helping smokers to kick the habit. Even vaping nicotine is much healthier than smoking it because it’s the by-products of smoking that are so dangerous.
A bit of a two-edged sword this one – so far it seems to not carry the same level of risk for long-term use. This uncertainty is because the components used have not been in common use by this method of delivery before. Indeed, in 2020, the European Heart Journal published two articles whose conclusions display the level of uncertainty:
We agree that studies of short-term effects suggest that switching to e-cigarettes may be less harmful than regular smoking but these findings have also not been corroborated by long-term data on clinically meaningful endpoints. These findings do not contradict the interpretation of our results. By no means do they demonstrate the safety of vaping as recent chronic studies on vaping demonstrate an association with respiratory disease and myocardial infarction.
In conclusion, while more research is certainly needed to identify the long-term effects of switching from smoking to e-cigarette use on the cardiovascular system, the acute effects of delivering a stimulant (nicotine) on vascular function cannot be used as a prognostic marker for cardiovascular risk.
What are the known bads of Vaping?
If still used with nicotine, it remains addictive. Even without nicotine it is habit-forming and, potentially, will become a financial problem.
It has its own side-effects, which you might be unlucky enough to experience, such as:
coughing, dry mouth and throat,
mouth and throat irritation,
shortness of breath, and
If government reverse current regulations carried forward from EU membership, we might see manufacturers re-introducing diacetyl. This was banned in EU some time ago but continued in use in the USA for a while where we saw troubling reports of a condition called ‘popcorn lung’.
Following on from 3, Vaping started to take off in 2007 and diacetyl wasn’t banned until 2016 – that means a dangerous element of the product was around for 9 years before it was controlled. What else do we not know about yet?
It is clear that Vaping is a very useful tool to kick the smoking habit. It is also one that many smokers don’t realise could remove the biggest dangers of smoking which isn’t nicotine but all the by-products associated with smoking. However, it is itself, by its nature, habit forming in the same way as thumb-sucking is for children which has its’ own consequences.
This client, let’s call her Hilda, had a problem with binge-eating & drinking. She was sceptical to start with but ended up giving this great review online.
“I would highly recommend both Lynn & Hypnotherapy. Although hopeful, I had my doubts & reservations. I had spent considerable time researching the concept of hypnosis but I didn’t believe it could be so effective.
After my initial consultation, Lynn was confident & I felt assured that she could help me with my binge eating & drinking habits which had progressively worsened during lockdowns.”
“I didn’t feel at all pressured to proceed. Across my two sessions I felt comfortable and at ease. Lynn has the most friendly, calm & patient demeanour. In my first session Lynn allowed me to ‘self source’ the issue. With her guided assistance I was able to come to a realisation as to why I had developed these bad habits indulging in both food & alcohol.
I went away knowing the emotional reason behind my problem. Something I had never even thought about before. I was instantly more mindful and aware of these feelings. “
“In my second session, Lynn helped me tackle the habit itself. Under her direction I was even able to reveal my subconscious thoughts in such situations. I can already see a positive shift in my behaviour and way of thinking. I hope to see continuous improvement as I practice this change of mind-set.”
If so, please get in touch with me for a chat &, perhaps, to arrange for your initial consultation free of charge! I look forward to hearing from you.
If you are a smoker you might be interested in this case study, she is still not smoking months after her treatment with me.
This client has asked to remain anonymous but was keen to share their experience with me:
I have been having counselling sessions with Lynn for about a year now and it’s done me so much good. I struggle with anxiety and depression and Lynn has been so good at helping me through it. She’s someone I can completely open up to without ever worrying about being judged or made to feel strange about anything. Lynn always comes up with really good solutions to try and diffuse my anxious thoughts and I can honestly say it has shifted my mind set and I have so many more better days than bad days now and it’s really improved my quality of life. I’m so grateful for everything she has done.
Anxiety & Depression Affects More Than You Think
In England depression affects around 4% of women and 3% of men at any one time. Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the burden of suicide and heart disease.
On average an episode of depression will last for 6-8 months but can extend for up to a year or longer.
Depression with Anxiety is a Significant National Issue
Depression most commonly occurs in combination with anxiety. In 2010 there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK. The total prevalence of all types of anxiety disorder (including PTSD) in England is estimated at 14.7% of the population at any given point in time. Based on this 4.2 million people in England are likely to be affected by mixed anxiety and depression.
Mixed anxiety and depression is severely underreported and the most undertreated of common mental health issues. More than 1 in 4 people will have a panic attack at some time in their lives.
What is it like?
Symptoms of depression can be:
an unusually sad mood that does not go away,
loss of enjoyment and interest in activities,
lack of energy and tiredness.
You may also experience:
a loss of confidence,
difficulty in concentrating or making decisions,
bleak views of the future,
difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
Depression can range from mild to severe and affects the whole person.
Anxiety is Normal
Anxiety is a normal feeling we all experience when faced with difficult or threatening situations. It makes us more alert and responsive and helps us to avoid danger. When feelings become severe or long lasting they interfere with your life affecting work, relationships and everyday activities.
A client in her 60s a smoker for over 40 years came for a quit smoking session, in her own words she was finished with feeling unhealthy.
For the first part of the quit smoking 2 hour session I explain the facts about smoking. In particular the devastating impact it has on the body, on your life. I then discuss the benefits of quitting smoking. Even after 40 years the body can start to repair itself; it is an amazing machine. The good news is that the benefits start immediately you quit. Before I begin the second hour I ensure that my client is ready and committed. This part of the session is used for hypnosis and suggestion re-programming your subconscious mind to help it quit smoking.
After the session my client felt relaxed, positive and committed.
A few months later I received feedback thanking me and telling me she is richer in her pocket but, more importantly, she is richer in her health. In the past, when out for a walk with her brother, he would often joke that he hardly scored any ‘points’ on his FitBit. Scoring 28 recently where they would normally have scored just 5 or 6 they were pleasantly surprised. This was because she was able to cope with a faster pace averaging a little over 3mph. Positive proof that her fitness level has improved (and continues to do so).
Quality of Life
Another interesting improvement is that her taste buds have come back. She realised this when the family ordered an Indian Takeaway and she asked for her usual vindaloo. At her first mouthful she complained that the order must have been wrong because it was way too hot. She now eats milder curries, even madras is too hot for her. A big shock for my client after 40 years of eating vindaloos but on the plus side a big improvement to her taste buds!
The chemicals in tobacco cause a loss of taste in smokers as well as structural changes to the fungiform papillae of the tongue where the taste buds are found; you can read more about this here.
Spring is almost here so why not spring forward into a healthy lifestyle, now is the time to sow seeds for the future. Do you need help to get to the gym every week? Do you need to break an unwanted habit? Or do you need to be the best sportsman for your sport? We all need a little help at this time of year especially after a long winter. Hypnotherapy is a great tool to use to get you motivated and on the right path for you.
All we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.