The government has launched a new initiative called the ‘swap to stop’ scheme, which aims to reduce smoking rates across the UK.
This world-first national scheme encourages one million smokers to switch from cigarettes to vapes to improve the health of the country and reduce smoking rates. According to the Office of National Statistics, 6.6 million people were smoking in England in 2021, and almost one in five of all smokers in England will be given a free vape starter kit and behavioural support to help them quit.
Smoking is known to be extremely detrimental to human health, causing many life-threatening diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals, many of which are toxic, and smoking damages almost every organ in the body. In fact, up to two out of three lifelong smokers will die from smoking, making it the only product on sale which will kill you if used correctly, according to Health Minister Neil O’Brien. O’Brien further commented:
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.
Neil O’Brien, Health Minister
While the health risks associated with e-cigarettes are not yet fully known, many people are concerned about using the devices. Additionally, distributing free vapes to adults has raised concerns about the message this presents to children who have previously tried to get their hands on a vape. In response to this, the government is cracking down on trying to stop young people from using vapes, and Health Minister Neil O’Brien is launching a call for evidence on youth vaping to reduce the number of children accessing and using vape products.
In a recent speech, Minister O’Brien also announced that following the success of local schemes, pregnant women will be offered financial incentives to help them stop smoking. This involves offering vouchers, alongside behavioural support, to all pregnant women who smoke by the end of next year. It is important to note that smoking during pregnancy is extremely harmful and can cause numerous health problems for both the mother and the baby.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.