Make vapes prescription-only and limit to over-21s, says dentist

This Stoptober, Nilesh Parmar explains why vaping is a good way to encourage heavy smokers to give up cigarettes – but needs to be approached with caution among young people. 

This Stoptober, Nilesh Parmar explains why vapes are a good way to encourage heavy smokers to give up cigarettes – but need to be approached with caution among young people. 

The data on vaping is relatively new, whereas we’ve got years and years of data in regards to smoking. What we have seen and what myself, other implant surgeons and periodontists have seen is that patients who vape do appear to have issues with bone levels around the dental implants and issues with worsening periodontal disease.

It’s also a relatively new phenomenon and it is varied. There’s no homogenous vaping product, whereas cigarettes are quite tightly controlled. It’s the wild, wild west. You’ve got people setting up vaping shops and selling vapes where we don’t really know what’s in the clear liquid inside.

What we do know, however, is if somebody only smokes five a day and then moves onto vaping, they may start consuming more nicotine due to the frequency they vape.

People who tend to vape don’t usually vape five times a day for two or three minutes like a cigarette user. They may be vaping much more frequently throughout the day. Vaping doesn’t require the ceremonial lighting of a cigarette or going outside which makes it easier to use more often.

I’ve now got patients who say the first thing they do when they wake up is vape. I feel as if this is a stealth problem, which we will see just get worse and worse.

Dangerous habit

The data for vaping with regards to stopping smoking is actually very good. So by all means if you’re smoking 40-a-day and e-cigarettes help you stop this habit, then I, as a healthcare professional, think that is a good thing.

The issue that I have is people who don’t smoke who then start vaping. That’s a very dangerous habit to get into. It could be a precursor to smoking, but we also know that vaping on its own is not great for you.

I know that children as young as 12, 13 and 14 are vaping and even vaping in classrooms. The flavours are often geared towards children too.

Prescription-only vapes

Should we ban cigarettes? In my eyes, yes, we should. There are no benefits. A lot of people compare it to alcohol. But low to moderate alcohol consumption does have its benefits, such as red wine. There are no health benefits in smoking.

I personally think cigarettes should be banned and vaping should be banned ideally. The country should be smoke-free.

Realistically though, I think the purchase of vapes and cigarettes should be limited. I think smoking should be legal only for over 21s. Vaping should also be over 21s only.

I think vapes should be prescription only – you have to get a prescription from your doctor and it’s prescribed as a way to quit smoking. I think this is the only benefit of vaping – to stop smoking.

Find more resources on smoking and vaping this Stoptober below:

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