Commentary: Is It Time For Vaping Cessation Programmes In Singapore?


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Commentary: Is It Time For Vaping Cessation Programmes In Singapore?
Commentary: Is It Time For Vaping Cessation Programmes In Singapore?

Article Title: Is It Time For Vaping Cessation Programmes In Singapore?

Introduction:

Vaping has become a prevalent issue in countries around the world, including Singapore. With the rise of vaping among both adults and young individuals, there is a growing need to address the potential health risks and help those who wish to quit this habit. This article explores the necessity of implementing vaping cessation programs in Singapore to provide support and guidance to vapers who want to break free from nicotine addiction.

The Need for Vaping Cessation Programs:

As a smoking cessation counselor and pharmacist, I have encountered individuals who have never smoked cigarettes but have become addicted to vaping. These individuals demonstrate a concern for their health but do not perceive the same level of risk as smoking cigarettes. With the rise of illicit vaping in Singapore, it is crucial to address this issue and provide appropriate resources for those struggling with vaping addiction.

The Lack of Guidelines:

Currently, there are no clear vaping cessation guidelines for smoking cessation counselors in Singapore. The existing clinical practice guidelines on treating tobacco use and dependence have not been updated since 2013, leaving professionals without proper references to guide their practice in helping vapers quit. It is essential to develop updated guidelines specifically tailored to vaping cessation to ensure effective support for individuals seeking to quit.

The Art of Vaping Cessation:

Vaping cessation is currently more of an art than a science due to the lack of research-backed protocols. While vaping presents unique challenges compared to smoking cessation, such as the variability in vaping devices and accessories, there are similarities in the barriers individuals face when trying to quit. Stress, social pressure, nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and the habitual physical act of using a vaping device are all factors that need to be addressed in vaping cessation programs.

The Role of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT):

Nicotine replacement therapy has played a significant role in helping smokers quit cigarettes. However, there is currently no specific NRT product available for vapers. With the diversity of vaping products and the lack of regulation regarding their composition and labeling, healthcare professionals face difficulties in determining appropriate dosage and regimens to help vapers quit. Developing NRT products specifically designed for vaping cessation could significantly enhance the effectiveness of these programs.

The Importance of Becoming Nicotine-Free:

The ultimate goal of any vaping cessation program is to help individuals become nicotine-free, not just smoke-free. While non-combustible alternatives produce fewer toxins than traditional cigarettes, the long-term health effects of vaping and the potential unknown components raise concerns. Nicotine itself is a highly addictive drug that carries significant health risks, including increased blood pressure, heart rate, and the narrowing of blood vessels. It is crucial to guide vapers towards complete nicotine cessation to protect their well-being.

International Approaches to Vaping Cessation:

Different countries have adopted varying approaches to vaping regulation and cessation. Some, like Singapore and Thailand, have chosen to ban vaping altogether. However, this has not eradicated the problem entirely, as individuals continue to engage in illicit vaping. New Zealand and Australia have taken different routes by either regulating or banning specific vaping products. It is essential to observe the effectiveness of these approaches and learn from successful vaping cessation models in other countries.

Conclusion:

The rise of vaping in Singapore calls for the urgent implementation of vaping cessation programs. These programs should provide tailored support and guidance to help individuals quit vaping and become nicotine-free. By updating guidelines, developing NRT products designed for vaping cessation, and learning from successful models in other countries, Singapore can address the growing concern of vaping addiction and protect the health of its citizens. With proper resources, vapers can overcome nicotine dependence and lead healthier lives.

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