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Wendy Preston discuss the role of e-cigarettes

Wendy Preston, Nurse Consultant, George Eliot Hospital Nuneaton, Warwickshire, and Senior Lecturer, Coventry University discusses the role of e-cigarettes at today’s conference. In her presentation Wendy discussed in-depth:

  • evidence regarding electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • recent research
  • implications for smoking cessation practice

Wendy Preston’s full presentation is available for download at the end of this page.

Electronic nicotine delivery devices (ENDDs) are commonly known as e-cigarettes and thought to be growing in popularity and use in the United Kingdom by the general public. They are an electronic device that mimics real cigarettes. They deliver nicotine through vapour rather than smoke, and usually look like a cigarette with a light and steam produced to look like a real cigarette which required a chargeable battery.  The nicotine content is variable and can be purchased in several strengths; marketing is generally for replacing nicotine consumption than quitting smoking.               

E-cigarettes and related devices may in the future once regulated become a useful tool in the smoking cessation field as part of a treatment plan that includes behavioral support.

They are generally recognised as a safer alternative to tobacco smoking however they still pose a harm and the extent of this harm is not yet fully understood or how to limit this risk.

This session will discuss the development of electronic cigarettes, current/ future research, current usage and where we are with regulation. Advice on what to say to your clients when they ask about e-cigarettes and how to encourage users into smoking cessation services to increase their chances of quitting tobacco.

In her session Wendy stated: 

Three key elements that influence nicotine delivery to human body

  • Nicotine content of cartridge
  • Efficacy of vaporization – cartridge - aerosol
  • Bioavailability of nicotine
  • Is Nicotine overdose a concern? No – as with Tabaco consumers will adapt the amount they puff.

Is this a great innovation or a future disaster???


  • Much Less harmful than tobacco  (approx. 95% less)
  • 2 million users in UK
  • Approx. 20% smokers/ ex smokers using
  • Use amount never smokers rare?
  • new route to quitting for smokers?
  • Mimics nicotine delivery comparable to smoking (quicker than NRT) 
  • Flavours?
  • Far less carcinogenic’s than tobacco


  • Not 100% safe
  • Adverse effects
  • Lack of evidence base and research (esp effect on respiratory system)
  • So many makes & models
  • Involvement of tobacco industry
  • Quality of some models e.g. batteries/ combustibles
  • Gateway to tobacco smoking especially for the young?
  • Flavours?
  • Carcinogenic ??

Public Health England will be releasing a statement on E-cigarettes in June/July.

So….what do you say if asked advice? 

  • E-cigs are not as harmful to you as cigarettes.
  • There is risk of harm and we are not sure how big this risk is yet.
  • We do know the best thing for your health is to quit tobacco and help from a smoking cessation service increases your success rate.
  • I want to refer you today, is that ok? 

Future.....will we combine NRT & E-cig??

Sources for additional information:

Britton, J & Bogdanovica, I. (2014) Electronic Cigarettes: A report commissioned by Public Health England. Available online at:

National Centre for Smoking Cessation Training (2014) E-Cigarette Briefing available online at:

Ratschen (2014) E-cigarettes in mental health settings – solving a conundrum?

Available online at:

Wendy Preston’s Biography:

Wendy Preston RGN BSC(hons) Msc Pgcert HE current role is Nurse Consultant, George Eliot Hospital, Warwickshire.

Since qualifying in 1992 Wendy has worked in a variety of medical nursing and education roles, specialising in Respiratory and Acute Medicine. Her studies have been varied with an MSc in Respiratory Care (2011) with post graduate certificates in prescribing and higher education.

Wedny’s teams are Nursing Times ‘Team of the Year’ 2014 which incorporates an acute medical unit and an ambulatory care unit with a secondary care stop smoking service. Other roles include; non-medical prescribing lead, BTS stop smoking champion and also lecture at Coventry University.

Wendy hass passionate about respiratory care and smoking cessation, committee member of the Association of Respiratory Nurses (ARNS) and Teaching & Education lead. She participate in national and international groups including at parliament and the European Respiratory Nurses Association representing ARNS and the RCN. Wendy also represent ARNS on national guideline groups and is BTS co-lead for Stop smoking champions.

Wendy shares her learning by talking at a range of conferences and events and publishing papers. This was recognised in 2014 by being recognised as an HSJ Rising Star.

Future conferences of interest:

Improving Physical Health for People with Mental Health Conditions
Monday 14 September 2015 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Implementing the national objective to end Prone/Face Down Restraint: Examining Restraint Positions in Practice
Tuesday 22 September 2015 
ICO Conference Centre, London

Improving Mental Health Crisis Care
Thursday 15 October 2015 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Positive and Proactive Care Meeting the New National Guidance on Reducing Seclusion
Tuesday 20 October 2015 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Download: Wendy Preston"s full presentation

11 May 2015


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