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UK govt to offer 1 million people vapes in hopes of meeting smoke free goal


Published:
2023-04-15 04:04:25 BdST

Update:
2023-09-25 16:27:09 BdST

Published: 2023-04-15 04:04:25 BdST

 

Live Desk: One million people in England will be offered the chance to drop their cigarettes and pick up a vape under government plans to help people quit smoking.

Described as a world first by officials, the “swap to stop” program will see nearly one in five smokers in England provided with a vaping starter kit, as well as behavioral support to help them kick the habit.

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 — reducing smoking rates to 5% or less.

On Tuesday, UK health minister Neil O’Brien outlined plans for the program and other measures, including financial incentives to convince pregnant women to quit smoking. Doing so would help cut the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, as well as reduce the number of babies born underweight or underdeveloped, the government said in a statement.

“Cigarettes are the only product on sale which will kill you if used correctly,” O’Brien said in a speech on Tuesday. “We will offer a million smokers new help to quit.”

Local authorities will be invited to engage in the program later this year, with plans being specifically designed to suit their needs, including when it comes to deciding which populations to prioritize.

“We are pleased that the government continues to believe that responsible vape providers have a role to play in helping adult smokers quit smoking,” a spokesperson for Imperial Brands Plc, the UK listed company which produces the Blu vape brand as well Winston, Gauloises and John Player Special cigarettes.

As well as the “swap to stop” program, O’Brien launched a call for evidence on vaping among children. Figures from NHS Digital published last year showed that 9% of 11 to 15 year olds used e-cigarettes in 2021, a rise from 6% in 2018.

The government will put £3 million toward setting an “illicit vapes enforcement squad,” led by Trading Standards, to help combat the illegal sale of vapes to children.

“As a long-established vape manufacturer with a strong track record of responsible marketing, we share the public’s concern over the way unscrupulous operators have targeted children,” the Imperial Brands spokesperson said.

Dhaka, 14 April (campuslive24.com)//CM

 

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