Success: Manchester Stop Smoking Service withdraw anti-ecig leaflet.

At the start of December we brought you news that the ‘Manchester Stop Smoking Service’ was circulating an anti-ecig leaflet filled with facts that appeared to be the result of either poor research or an outright attempt to mislead. (You can read that story here).

The response from the community was swift… many took to Twitter and Facebook seeking answers and explaining how their experience with vaping differed so fundamentally with the NHS funded advice. Today the community can chalk up another victory for vaping…

Manchester Stop Smoking Service has withdrawn their leaflet and removed the related online content.

Below is a response sent by Chris Love (Senior Manager of the Manchester Stop Smoking Service Team) to UKVapers member r1der54. Whilst I have some issues with the response, acknowledging that the original leaflet and website copy were ‘not evenly balanced’ is a biggie and she deserves credit for taking the appropriate action.

You can read the full email below.

Thank you for your email. I am glad to hear that your experience of using e-cigarettes has been positive and that your health has improved. I hope this email will answer your questions and inform you of how – as an NHS service – we are obliged to be open and honest.

In terms of our leaflet: the reason it was produced is that our many hundreds of smoking advisors around the city, as well as our health trainers, are frequently asked about e-cigarettes and so this was to serve as an aide-memoire to be used by them principally in discussion with service users. The bottom line that underpins this issue is that as an NHS organisation we cannot endorse a product that has yet to be regulated as a medicine. When that day arrives we will welcome e-cigarettes as another product to support smokers to quit.

We are quite clear within the service, and in the leaflet, that the answer to the question ‘Are e-cigarettes safe?’ is that ‘We don’t know’. This is a message that any other NHS Stop Smoking service in the country would use – not just us in Manchester.

The service welcomes the peer reviewed studies that are emerging. However, while e-cigarettes remain unregulated, many of their ingredients are unlisted and may not be safe to breathe.

I should also inform you that we have had recent local reports of lipoid pneumonia being caused by the use of some e-cigarette products; these are currently being written up for publishing and we are concerned that some of the oils used in e-cigarettes are reducing oxygen levels. We have also had significant reports of increased asthma and COPD symptoms from patients.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service have sent us warnings of exploding e-cigarettes and chargers and asked us to make people aware that they should not be left charging unattended. Please see attached their collateral.

In producing any material we do of course consult the scientific evidence as widely as possible (attached for your reference) and we also feel we need to bear in mind what our own advisors and contacts are telling us, who are working on a daily basis with thousands of quitters across the city. We are also obliged to use current NHS England and Government messages, who ultimately decide what can be used to be advice to the public – please see as an example:

Having said all this we have decided to remove the information from our website and to withdraw the leaflet with a view to amending it. I can see that from the point of view of someone looking for any kind of help to quit smoking, the content does not come across as evenly balanced. That was absolutely not our intention, as we had hoped the title ‘…we don’t know’ would show. As I’m sure you’re aware, the field of e-cigarettes is a fast developing one and we will do our best to keep our messages, advice and information as current as possible.

Thanks you for taking the time to write to me and good luck with your quit attempt.



Chris Love (Mrs)
Senior Manager
Health and Wellbeing Care Group
Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust
Victoria Mill
Miles Platting
Manchester M40 7LJChris Love

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