But in 10 years, these numbers will (hopefully) look very different.
In July 2019, the government released Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, a green paper that outlines strategies to reduce ill-health. This consultation document was open for public review and is now being analysed. One of the main priorities is to make Britain smoke-free by 2030 – and e-cigarettes could be a key tool in making the goal become a reality.
The paper states that as well as tackling obesity and mental ill-health, plans to move towards a healthier Britain include “an ultimatum for the industry to make smoked tobacco obsolete by 2030, with smokers quitting or moving to reduced-risk products like e-cigarettes.”
With the government looking towards e-cigarettes as a solution to end smoking, we decided to delve a little deeper to explore how this could (and hopefully will) play out.
How can Britain become smoke-free?
We love this proposition, but we’re also realistic. If making the UK into a smoke-free nation sounds like a lofty ambition, that’s because it is. Any ex-smoker knows how hard it can be to give up tobacco cigarettes, and separating an entire population from addiction is, of course, significantly more difficult.
But, as any e-cigarette user also knows, it’s not impossible.
With the right tools and enough support, it’s possible to create an environment that makes it easier for people to give up smoking. The green paper states that the NHS will offer stop smoking support to all smokers who are admitted to hospital, and e-cigarettes have been proven to be an incredibly effective tool for making this lifestyle change possible.
Using e-cigarettes to reach the 2030 goal
As well as providing a nicotine hit, e-cigarettes replace many of the other elements that people love about tobacco cigarettes. Vaping still allows for the social aspect of taking a break with friends, family, or co-workers, as well as the hand-to-mouth action associated with smoking – all without exposing your lungs to the deadly chemicals in cigarettes.
This is something the UK government has taken into consideration. The green paper states:
“The government is committed to monitoring the safety, uptake, impact and effectiveness of e-cigarettes and to assess further innovative ways to deliver nicotine with less harm than smoking tobacco. There is a large amount of research now available to support e-cigarette use as a safer alternative to smoking and help people quit smoking, and we continue to monitor the evidence.”
Success in Salford
There has already been a movement in using e-cigarettes to reduce the 14% of adult smokers in the UK to a healthy 0%. The green paper cites a case study from Salford, in which Salford City Council worked with a local housing association, pharmacy, vape shop, and stop smoking services to create the ‘Swap to Stop’ initiative.
People living in deprived areas of the city were given a free e-cigarette starter pack, along with stop smoking support. In just 10 weeks, over 1,000 people signed up and 20% were successful in quitting smoking.
We’re excited to see the government get behind the stop smoking movement and support the use of e-cigarettes as a tool that can help to make the 2030 goal into a success story. If you’re ready to join, check out our post on why you should use e-cigarettes to quit smoking or check out our pod device starter kit.