Over one million people will be offered vape starter kits to help them quit smoking, as part of the UK's anti-smoking drive, BBC reported. The move comes as the government looks to cut the number of smokers in the UK to meet a target of becoming smoke-free by 2030.
As part of the ''swap to stop'' scheme, said to be the first of its kind in the world, vape starter kits will be offered to almost one in five of all smokers in England. Even pregnant women will also be offered up to 400 Pounds to stop smoking.
Health Minister Neil O'Brien is expected to launch the new schemes in a speech today.
''Up to two out of three lifelong smokers will die from smoking. Cigarettes are the only product on sale that will kill you if used correctly. 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. We will work with councils and others to offer a million smokers across England a free vaping starter kit,'' he is expected to say.
However, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the charity Action on Smoking and Health, warned swapping cigarettes for vapes was not enough. She told BBC, "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."
According to a press release, the government will also consult on introducing mandatory cigarette pack inserts with positive messages and information to help people to quit smoking. There will also be a crackdown on illicit vape sales as part of measures to stop children and non-smokers take up the habit
In recent years, e-cigarettes have become a very popular stop-smoking aid in the UK, and are considered far less harmful than cigarettes.
Figures from NHS Digital published last year showed that 9 percent of 11 to 15-year-olds used e-cigarettes in 2021, a rise from 6 percent in 2018.
Notably, an e-cigarette is a device that allows you to inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke. As per NHS, E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco and do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most damaging elements in tobacco smoke.
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