What is vaping?

Splügen is a good three hours from Basel, but it is an easy trip and it covered by the Swiss Railways Snow’n’Rail scheme with a corresponding 20% discount on the rail and lift passes. The journey to Chur is simple and doesn’t normally require a change, and the bus station in Chur is right above the platforms. You can actually get as far as Thusis by train, but the direct bus service from Chur is good.

Splügen Base Station

I was once told that the Post Buses only run on the sections of the Swiss road network where private operators can’t make a profit. Whatever the reason, there is something reassuring about the Swiss Post Buses, with their bright livery and the certain knowledge that they will always stop outside the post office and on time. And apparently never a single fatality, which is impressive considering some of the tortuous mountain routes they cover on icy winter roads. The Bellinzona-bound bus stops and picks up right next to the Splügen lifts too, one stop before Splügen Post – the stop is Splügen Bergbahnen.

It is a strange thing about using public transport in Switzerland that you often find yourself sitting next to someone carrying a gun. You often see rifle ranges and gun magazines, even shops selling guns in Switzerland, but the most common reason to see someone with a gun is that they are on military service. And they have no ammunition. If you ask a Swiss person with a gun whether they have it to defend themselves they look askance. “Defend our country” might be the answer, but there is no machismo associated with gun ownership. I think the US constitution was a model for the Swiss, but somehow they came up with a saner interpretation of the 2nd amendment. Gun crime is low in Switzerland, but the gun suicide rate is relatively high compared to countries with low gun ownership. The irony of gun ownership is that gun owners and their families in every society are more at risk of gun crime or gun accidents than non-gun owners.

Anyway, back to the snow. Splügen is small, maybe 30km, but the slopes are OK. There is a good mix of reasonable blacks, reds and blues with enough off-piste available to keep anyone happy. The valley runs are scenic and the one alongside the gondola is pretty impressive. The lift system is not extensive but adequate, providing lift access to runs between 2215m and 1484m, and only one (largely avoidable) t-bar. One of the better small resorts in my opinion.

The restaurants and bars were good. Nothing extraordinary and no wild nightlife. This is a basic ski resort, but clearly popular with locals even with the attraction of bigger resorts nearby.

What is vaping?

Vaping refers to the use of an electronic device that heats a liquid turning it into an aerosol (vapour) which the user inhales.

The difference between smoking and vaping is that smoking delivers nicotine by burning tobacco which can cause smoking related illnesses, and vaping can deliver nicotine by heating a liquid in a much less harmful way. Get the best deals at vaprzon.

There are some risks to vaping, and the biggest is that long term effects are not yet known. While vaping is less harmful than smoking it is unlikely to be totally harm free. Scientists will not be certain for many years of any health risks associated with vaping.

Ideally, smokers who are vaping to quit should look to eventually stop vaping too.

Vaping is not for children and young people, and people who don’t smoke should not vape.

“Comparative risks of cardiovascular disease and lung disease have not been quantified but are likely to be also substantially below the risks of smoking”. (Evidence Review of E-cigarettes and Heated Tobacco Products 2018, a report commissioned by Public Health England)

Using vaping when you are quitting smoking

There are some published studies showing the ability of vaping to support people who are quitting smoking.

Vaping is significantly cheaper than smoking. Aside from the initial $40-$60 approximate set-up cost, vaping costs approximately 10% of what smoking. If you smoke a pack a day it will cost you approximately $9,000 a year, and vaping in a way to stop smoking would cost approximately $900.  Check out this cost calculator to work out how much you could save.

It’s important to get the right kit for you, and good advice and support when you are vaping as part of your quit journey. Some people think the devices and kit looks complicated and tricky. A reputable, specialist vape store will be able to advise you on the best products for you, and the right nicotine level to start on. Quitline and the local stop smoking services found across New Zealand will be able to also give you advice, as well their tried and true programmes to help people quit.

Combining smoking with vaping

The greatest health benefits are seen when people stop smoking completely, and this should be the goal when trying to quit.

Some people manage to switch completely to vaping quickly. Others can take some time to adjust and may need to try a number of different vaping products and e-liquids before finding one that works for them.

Ideally, people will eventually stop vaping as well.    

For more information 

  • Vapingfacts.health.nz has information about how vaping is different from smoking, and tips and advice on how it can be used when you are wanting to stop smoking. It also has a cost calculator and quiz.
  • The Ministry of Health website provides information on the The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 (the Amendment Act) which commenced on 11 November 2020.  The Amendment Act strikes a balance between ensuring vaping products are available for smokers who want to switch to a less harmful alternative and ensuring these products aren’t marketed or sold to young people.
  • Quitline has general information about vaping, as well as how they can help people who are using vaping to quit smoking. Local stop smoking services can also help you to use vaping when you are wanting to quit smoking.
  • Te Hiringa Hauora/Health Promotion Agency has provided information on vaping to support schools, students, parents, teachers, and learning activities.
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