Study Indicating Health Improvements When Quitting Smoking Released For Stoptober

With Stoptober kicking off yesterday, new research results released just in time for the campaign indicate that a significant 95% of former smokers see positive changes in their health as soon as they quit cigarettes.

Stoptober, is a yearly campaign which was launched in 2012 by the formerly known Public Health England (PHE) now renamed Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ (OHID). The campaign’s aim is encouraging smokers in the UK and across the globe to quit smoking for the month of October. And the idea behind it is that if they manage to quit smoking for a month they would be filled with renewed confidence, which may motivate them to quit forever. This strategy is based on the science indicating that if a smoker can quit for 28 days, they are more likely to stop smoking for good.

Meanwhile, a newly released study has indicated that on quitting cigarettes smokers can expect to witness positive changes in their health as soon as two weeks after giving up. A total of 45% of the participants experienced having more energy, 42% felt healthier and another 42% experienced improved breathing.

Released on time for Stoptober which started yesterday on October 1st, the study also found that 22% of the 3,000 ex-smokers, noted an improvement in their ability to exercise, 24% felt that their skin looked healthier looking skin and 25% experienced their sense of taste returning.

Switching to vaping saves money in the long run
Besides health benefits, the participants also reported financial gains upon quitting. A total of 34% saved money, with an average smoker potentially saving £38 a week by quitting, equating to about £2,000 per year. A 2021 study comparing the expenses incurred by vapers versus those covered by smokers indicated a similar pattern.

Analysing data from the 2016 International Tobacco Control Four Country Vaping and Smoking Survey (4CV1), the study “Costs of vaping: evidence from ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey,” the study found that vapers save money in the long-term. The research team found that while the prices of various vaping products vary from country to country, start up kits tend to be more expensive than packets of cigarettes. However, this initial purchase saves users money in the long term, as refills are cheaper than a packet of cigarettes.

“NVP (nicotine vaping products) prices were generally higher than prices of combustible cigarettes, especially the high upfront NVP devices. The high upfront costs of purchasing a reusable NVP may discourage some smokers from switching to vaping. However, the average lower costs of cartridges and e-liquids relative to a package of cigarettes make switching to a NVP an attractive alternative to smoking in the long term so long as smokers switch completely to vaping,” concluded the study.

Does vaping have a negative impact on the healthcare system?
In contrast, a 2022 study estimating the annual healthcare costs attributable to adult US vapers, concluded that they are a financial burden on the health care system. The research team collected data from the 2015–2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data, including current adult vapers and dual/poly users. They looked into the health status of the participants as a function of vaping and at any healthcare utilisation as a function of their health status, e-cigarette use, and/or other factors.

The study concluded that exclusive vapers, at 0.2%, and dual users of vapes and cigarettes (at 3.5%) in 2015–2018, were more likely to report poor health status than never users. Subsequently this poor health status was associated with higher odds of using healthcare services and and doctor visits. However, it is unclear whether this study took into account that most vapers are former smokers, in which case it is difficult to determine whether the health care costs were caused by the vaping or the prior smoking, as is most likely.