While vapers may suffer the occasional smoking lapse, they don’t necessarily see such a lapse as ‘game over’ for their quit attempt, and it doesn’t have to lead to a full relapse, according to a story at medicalxpress.com describing new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK.

The research findings, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, suggest that vaping encourages not just smoking cessation, but long-term relapse prevention.

Lead researcher, Dr. Caitlin Notley, of the UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said electronic cigarettes were the most popular aid to quitting smoking in the UK, and that her research team had wanted to discover what happened when people who had switched to vaping lapsed back into smoking.

“In the past, a brief smoking lapse would almost always lead to a full relapse, and people would usually feel like a failure for slipping up,” said Notley. “But this was before people started switching to vaping.

“The difference is that, for some vapers, the odd cigarette was thought of as being ‘allowed’. For others, an unintentional cigarette made them even more determined to maintain abstinence in future.

“Either way, it didn’t necessarily lead to a full relapse back into smoking…

“Because vaping is a more pleasurable alternative, our research found that a full relapse into smoking isn’t inevitable when people find themselves having the odd cigarette.

“There has been a lot of theorising around the process of smoking relapse after quit attempts. But all of these date back to pre-vaping times. This fresh evidence makes us question the usefulness of that understanding now that so many people are choosing to switch to vaping.

“For ex-smokers, vaping offers a pleasurable, social and psychological substitute to cigarettes – and it powerfully alters the threat of relapse. The old ‘not a puff’ advice may need revisiting.”

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