Walk down any high street today and it will be easy to spot people using vapes. What will not be immediately apparent, however, is just how many people are enjoying their benefits as a means of quitting smoking.
If you are a smoker and want to stop, it is important to know what vaping can do to help you achieve this goal. While there are alternatives, the idea of doing cold turkey or using nicotine patches may not be very appealing, especially if you have tried this before and found it does not work.
There are those who have argued vapes are not a good idea or are unhealthy, but the National Health Service has endorsed them as an effective and healthier alternative to smoking.
It explained why this is so by pointing out that vapes enable people to inhale nicotine in the vapour rather than smoke and in doing so, they avoid inhaling tar and carbon monoxide, the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
Some may imagine that is an open-and-shut case. If course, that does not mean there is zero harm that can come from using vapes, but it is far, far less than comes from smoking and therefore the logical position still remains in its favour. It is far better to use DIY vapes than pick up a packet of cigarettes.
However, there are those who still dispute this and for that reason, there have been some people in high places seeking to block moves to use vaping as an alternative to smoking.
The latest example of this has occurred in the Philippines, where a new bill the regulate vaping for the first time has passed through parliament. However, it still has to be signed into law by President Marcos; unlike the process of the monarch giving royal assent to a bill in the UK, this is not a formality. The power of veto exists.
Amid concerns the president may wield the veto, an array of senior doctors and medical scientists, many of them anti-smoking campaigners, have signed a letter urging President Marcos to sign the bill into law.
Noting that 16 million Filipinos smoke and, according to World Health Organization figures only four per cent manage to give up each year, the signatories believe 110,000 lives can be saved each year.
In addition to the benefits of vaping as a means of giving up smoking, the new legislation will also control nicotine content levels and stop vapes being sold close to schools.
All this is happening just as the European Commission is proposing to go in the opposite direction and ban heated tobacco products in the EU, claiming it will increase nicotine use. Post-Brexit, this will not change anything here, but could impact Britons travelling to neighbouring countries.
Yet the evidence is so clearly in favour of using vaping to stop smoking. A Public Health England report published last year noted that e-cigarettes are much more effective than nicotine patches in helping people quit, as well as observing that the number of people vaping had reached a plateau – in contrast with the concerns the European Commission has.
It also said unwarranted concerns had put some off using vaping as a means of stopping smoking, misconceptions it said need to be addressed.