The government is set to launch a new scheme called “swap to stop”, which aims to encourage one million smokers in England to switch to vaping in order to quit smoking.
As part of the government’s “smoke-free” campaign, they will offer vape starter kits to approximately one in five smokers. Pregnant women will also be eligible for up to £400 to help them quit smoking.
Furthermore, the government intends to place mandatory advice on quitting smoking inside cigarette packs, and they will take measures to crack down on the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to individuals under the age of 18.
However, there are concerns about the rise in youth vaping, and the Department of Health and Social Care is trying to balance this with the need to help adult smokers quit.
The health minister, Neil O’Brien, will launch the new schemes in a speech on Tuesday, stating that up to two out of three lifelong smokers will die from smoking.
The government plans to fund the £45m schemes over the next two years, and hopes to get all pregnant women who smoke to quit by the end of the year by offering financial incentives and behavioural support.
Choice of Products
The government will offer adult smokers a choice of products, strengths and flavours to find the best alternative for them. The funding for the schemes for Smokers in England will come from the DHSC’s budget.
Officials expect to provide vouchers to pregnant women throughout their pregnancy, with the potential to reach up to £400 upon successfully completing the scheme. However, the exact details of the scheme have not yet been determined.
In the previous year, Dr. Javed Khan led an independent review that proposed a smoking ban in outdoor spaces like beer gardens, outside cafes, and on beaches.
Khan also recommended promoting vaping as a means of assisting individuals in quitting tobacco use.
But he acknowledged vapes were not a “silver bullet”, nor were they “totally risk free”.
The government has an ambitious plan of making England smoke-free by 2030.
Campaigners assert that further action is necessary to achieve the goal of reducing smoking rates to below 5%.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash, said: “Vapes increase smokers’ chances of successfully quitting, as do vouchers for pregnant smokers, so these are welcome steps in the right direction, but they are nowhere near sufficient.”
She stated that Khan’s report did not bring about enough change, and emphasized that there is an urgent need for funding to restore the cuts of over 90% to mass media campaigns.
“Not to mention the absence of the tougher regulations Khan recommended to raise the age of sale, and reduce the appeal of smoking as well as vaping,” she added.