One million smokers will be encouraged to swap cigarettes for vapes under a “swap to stop” scheme described by ministers as a world first. Vape starter kits will be offered to almost one in five of all smokers in England under a push to make the nation “smoke free”.
Pregnant women will also be offered up to £400 to stop smoking and a consultation will be launched on introducing mandatory advice on quitting smoking to be placed in cigarette packs.
Campaigners welcomed the measures as “welcome steps in the right direction” but said they are “nowhere near sufficient”.
Experts expect the £45million pledge to get the nation “smoke free” by 2030, equating to getting smoking rates to less than five percent, to be missed without further action.
Health minister Neil O’Brien will launch the new schemes today.
He said: “Up to two out of three life-long smokers will die from smoking. Cigarettes are the only product on sale which will kill you if used correctly.
“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.”
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the Action on Smoking and Health campaign, said: “Vapes increase smokers’ chances of successfully quitting, as do vouchers for pregnant smokers, so these are welcome steps in the right direction, but they are nowhere near sufficient.”
The latest announcement comes on top of plans to crack down on the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s.
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