Vaping was endorsed by health experts earlier this year as an aid to quitting smoking. The Department of Health have now released a Tobacco Control Plan, which aims towards a smoke free generation. As part of this they now cite e-cigarettes as a ‘relatively safe’ alternative for smokers trying to quit.
The objectives of the Tobacco Control Plan are to:
• reduce the number of 15 year olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less
• reduce smoking among adults in England from 15.5% to 12% or less
• reduce the inequality gap in smoking prevalence, between those in routine and manual occupations and the general population
• reduce the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy from 10.5% to 6% or less
The aim is to achieve these objectives by the end of 2022.
According to National Statistics smoking causes around 79,000 preventable deaths in England and is estimated to cost our economy in excess of £11 billion per year. In 2015/16, there were approximately 474,000 smoking related hospital admissions with smokers also seeing their GP 35% more than non-smokers. These costs add a great burden to a system already dealing with growing demand.
Two thirds of smokers say they want to stop smoking (Health Survey for England, 2014), however long term success rates are low. The Tobacco Control Plan states that ‘The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking. However, the evidence is increasingly clear that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco.’
The plan states that the government will seek to support consumers in stopping smoking and adopting the use of less harmful nicotine products. As part of this aim, Public Health England (PHE) has produced guidance for employers and organisations looking to introduce policies around e-cigarettes and vaping in public and recommend such policies to be evidence-based. A significant change for vapers in that the PHE recommends that e-cigarette use is not covered by smokefree legislation and should not routinely be included in the requirements of an organisation’s smokefree policy. They will also include within quit smoking campaigns messages about the relative safety of e-cigarettes.
Are you a smoker who’s finding it hard to give up? It’s easier than you think to make that switch to e-cigarettes on your journey to quitting smoking altogether. Read our blog post on Tips on Switching to e-cigarettes.