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Government announces Swap to Stop and illicit vaping plans

Please see below comments in response to Policy Exchange keynote speech by Neil O’Brien OBE MP, Minister for Primary Care and Public Health outlining plans for Achieving Smokefree 2030: Cutting Smoking and Stopping Kids Vaping, DHSC’s announced plans in this regard.

Tracy Parr, Programme Director for London Tobacco Alliance and Stop Smoking London said:

“We welcome the news that a million smokers across England will be given free vape kits to help them make the swap to quit. We know that vaping is far safer for smokers than tobacco. Tripling a smoker’s quit success, used hand-in-hand with stop smoking support they’re a valuable tool in our fight against tobacco dependence that is costing Londoners their lives.

“We’re delighted to see added support for pregnant smokers to help them fight tobacco dependence and protect their own and their babies health both before and after birth. This is an important step in helping to tackle the health inequalities fuelled by cigarettes and tobacco products.

“We fully support steps to tackle illicit vape sales and youth vaping with stronger enforcement. The London Tobacco Alliance has worked closely with London Trading Standards to produce information for retailers on legislation relating to underage vape sales and securing funding to fight illegal tobacco.

“Smokers who take part will be asked to commit to getting support through face-to-face or digital services – something that significantly increases chances of quit success. Stop Smoking London provides Londoners with free telephone and digital stop smoking advice and support and referrals to local face-to-face smoking cessation services in our boroughs. We have fewer than 7 years until 2030, we need more funding to reach smokers in London with this support and help increase take up of this offer.”

Louise Ross, Clinical consultant, National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, close collaborators on Stop Smoking London, the capital’s dedicated digital and telephone stop smoking service said:

“The NCSCT welcomes this announcement; it acknowledges that more must be done to give people who smoke a wide range of choices when quitting and offering, alongside behavioural support, access to the most popular and most effective stop-smoking aid, will help accelerate progress towards a Smokefree 2030.

“The NCSCT is also pleased to see that incentives for pregnant women are included, to improve the health of babies born to mothers who would otherwise have been smoking.

“The task force to more strongly enforce existing legislation designed to keep vaping devices out of the hands of young people is a positive measure.”

Liam started smoking as a teenager. He quit smoking using a free vape kit, following his wife’s death from COPD:

“I was 14 or 15 years old when I began properly smoking. There was a girl in the orchestra that I played with who I quite liked and she smoked. I thought, if I start smoking, she will hopefully notice me and want to talk to me.

“I became addicted to smoking quite quickly and smoked constantly from the age of 14 until I was 37.

“I quit smoking to support my wife while suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the end, a heart attack killed her. I began smoking again the very day that my wife died. I had a cigarette to suppress my emotions and I continued smoking for roughly a year.

“I suffer from depression, OCD, and a few mental health concerns. If I tried to stop smoking, I found that after a week, my depression would become really poor due to the nicotine withdrawal. I didn’t want to experience those feelings and thoughts anymore.

Liam’s doctor referred him to a local stop smoking service.

Liam added: “The stop smoking service put me in touch with a smoking cessation coach. She sent me a vape alongside the cartridges and encouraged me to try vaping instead. My coach and I set October 7th, the anniversary of my wife’s death and the day I began smoking again, as the quit date.

“I’d encourage smokers to try a vape. Vapes work and they are a clean source of nicotine that takes care of the cravings without the tar and other horrendous carcinogenic chemicals.”

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