Morecambe vape shop's '˜Slimming World for smokers' scheme gains NHS support

Mike Zorab, left, with the team at Up In SmokeMike Zorab, left, with the team at Up In Smoke
Mike Zorab, left, with the team at Up In Smoke
A new scheme described as 'Slimming World for smokers' is aiming to help people ditch the fags by moving to e-cigarattes.

The NHS is advocating e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking, and Public Health England say that experts have found that they are 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.

As part of Stoptober, a national drive to help people quit smoking, the NHS has suggested that e-cigarettes can help people quit for 

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Currently, an estimated 2.9m adults in Great Britain use an e-cigarette.

Mike Zorab, manager at Up in SmokeMike Zorab, manager at Up in Smoke
Mike Zorab, manager at Up in Smoke

Mike Zorab, 35, general manager at Up In Smoke, in Lancaster Road, Morecambe, used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day, but has been smoke free since New Year’s Eve 2016, which he puts down to using e-cigarettes.

Up In Smoke offers a free “pen type e-cig” to anyone wishing to try it and has launched a ‘Smokebusters’ scheme support service, which encourages people to visit the premises every week and blow into a Carbon Monoxide (CO) and lung age monitor.

Mike explains: “We’ve been backed by Lancashire Quit Squad, which is jointly run by the NHS and Lancashire County Council.

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“Lancaster Quit Squad organised for 20 of their staff to come in for a training session to learn more about e-cigarettes.

“The NHS uses e-cigs for smoking cessation, and they’re now referring straight to us as a last resort if patches and gum don’t work. People can come in, fill in a form, there’s a series of questions, and a set of rewards. People have to return every seven days, and if their CO reading has decreased, they get a stamp which can be exchanged for free liquid or vouchers.

“If you blow four or less you’re considered a non-smoker and 13 is a standard smoker.

“But we think four weeks is nowhere near long enough to safely say you’ve quit. It’s too easy to have that drink, or take that phone call, and that’s why the support service is important.

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“We also have a lung age monitor, which is something we researched and bought ourselves. It’s a bit like Slimming World for smokers.

“Smokebusters is the ‘aftercare’ that we provide, and we’ve built it up into an online self support group.

“It’s trying to get the message out that people are not alone.”

Mike said he feels much healthier after quitting smoking and moving to e-cigarettes, and says his “lung age” now matches his actual age.

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“I haven’t had a sober cigarette since I quit, but I struggled when I drank alcohol,” he said.

“I used to work in a nightclub and was smoking 40 a day.

“On NYE 2017, I went from a 3mg to a 0mg e-cig, I was still vaping but I put three stone on. So I’ve gone 
back on to the nicotine for now.”

Stoptober runs throughout the month of October, encouraging people to stop smoking.

The NHS says people are five times more likely to quit if they don’t smoke for 28 days.

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He added: “It’s 2-4 weeks to get off the “stinkies”, and we have starter kits available for £28. Compared to the £80 a week people are spending on cigarettes, it’s very cheap.

We opened four years ago.

We approached the NHS to ask for their advice.

Public Health England announced that e-cigs are 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes, and have been using this on their poster campaigns.

We go through the pros and cons with people.

October and January - we handed a flier to someone outside Wetherspoon, one guy was on 20 a day, and had been smoking for 52 years, another was smoking 25 a day and had been smoking for 33 years.