The government has an ambitious plan of making England smoke-free by 2030.
The government has announced plans to make it easier for smokers to use e-cigarettes and other vaping products. Ministers have said they want to encourage people to switch from smoking tobacco products to e-cigarettes because they are less harmful. The plan was welcomed by Public Health England, which said it would help people quit smoking.
Anti-Smoking CAmpaign in England
But anti-smoking campaigners said the government should be doing more to tackle the tobacco industry.
The DoH (Department of Health) said it would offer up to one million smokers support and advice on switching to “vapes”, as well as vouchers for a starter kit of their own.
“We know that vaping helps people stop smoking and we want to see even more people benefiting from it,” Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price said in a statement.
According to Reuters the scheme is set to begin next year and will be funded by revenue from the sale of tobacco products.
Pregnant women will also be offered vouchers to help them kick the habit as part of the government’s target of reducing the number of smokers to 5% or less of the population from 13% now.
“Up to two out of three lifelong smokers will die from smoking. Cigarettes are the only product on sale which will kill you if used correctly,” Health Minister Neil O’Brien will say in a speech later on Tuesday, the government said.
“We will offer a million smokers new help to quit. We will be funding a new national ‘swap to stop’ scheme – the first of its kind in the world.”
What are Potential Results of this Move?It is estimated that up to 20,000 lives could be saved each year by 2035 if all smokers took up e-cigarettes instead of regular cigarettes, according to Public Health England (PHE).
Some experts have questioned whether e-cigarettes are safe, but PHE’s evidence review found they were 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco.
About two million Britons use e-cigarettes, according to PHE figures published last month.
“This is a huge step forward,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Ash (Action on Smoking and Health).
“The government has recognized that e-cigarettes are much less harmful than tobacco, can help smokers quit and should be made widely available without fear of prosecution.”
Vaping, however, has its critics
Vaping, however, has its critics and health officials have warned its popularity among children is exposing them to chemicals whose long-term effects are unclear.
Health service figures show 9% of 11 to 15-year-olds in Britain had used e-cigarettes in 2021, up from 6% three years before.
The government said it would set up an enforcement squad backed by 3 million pounds in funding to prevent the illegal sale of vapes to under 18s.
British Way to Switching from Cigarettes to Vapes
The government spent 68 million pounds ($84.52 million) in 2021-22 on local authority measures to get people to stop smoking, leading to 100,000 smokers quitting, and easing the strain on Britain’s overwhelmed National Health Service (NHS).
Other measures include banning smoking in cars with children present and making it easier for local authorities to put up “no smoking” signs near buildings where children are likely to be present.
Britain has one of the highest rates of adult smokers in Europe at 19 percent compared with an average of 13 percent across the EU. The rate among young people is even higher at 31 percent compared with an EU average of 20 percent among those aged between 16 and 24 years old.
PreHistory of Smoking Ban
Last year, an independent review led by Dr Javed Khan said smoking should be banned in outdoor spaces such as beer gardens, outside cafes and on beaches.
Khan also said vaping should be promoted as a means to help people stop using tobacco.
But he acknowledged vapes were not a “silver bullet”, nor were they “totally risk free”.
The report was commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) and published in July 2018. It concluded that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes.