The NHS will be giving out free vapes as a way to combat and crack down on smoking.
The UK has launched several big initiatives in recent years to try and crack down on smoking in a bid to get the nation smoke-free by 2030. Some of these initiatives include banning menthol cigarettes in 2020, making all cigarette and tobacco products have neutral packaging since 2016, and graphic warning photos a requirement since 2008.
However, the latest stop-smoking scheme announced this week is a big change to previous initiatives as the government has announced that the NHS will be offering free vape starter kits to over a million smokers. Under a new world-first “stop to swap” scheme 1 in 5 smokers in England will be offered a vape kit to encourage them to quit smoking and switch to vaping as a first step to eventually quitting altogether.
With over 25% of students addicted to vaping, this might seem like an odd choice from the NHS but while vaping is still addictive and contains nicotine it can be a big stepping stone to quitting smoking. For those who have smoked for years, this could be a welcome change to help them make the difficult transition to quitting smoking for good.
As part of this scheme, it’s thought that mandatory advice on how to quit smoking will be included inside all cigarette packets to help encourage people to take the steps to quit. Pregnant women will also be offered up to £400 to stop smoking as part of the campaign.
With the goal to make the UK smoke-free by 2030, this new move from the government aims to crack down on the sales of cigarettes and aims to get people to switch over to vaping instead–– which can contain fewer toxins than cigarettes reducing exposure to cancer, lung disease or heart disease.
While vaping still has its side effects and isn’t risk-free, it’s less harmful than smoking cigarettes and can help people to switch over to something which, while not completely risk-free will help to reduce potential harm.
So, while this may seem like a controversial idea seeing how popular vaping is amongst students and young people, this is actually a welcome change to many who have been addicted to smoking for years.