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One million people to be given a free vape in England

One million people to be given a free vape in England

A number of new measures are being introduced to get people to stop smoking

In a bid to get people to stop smoking, up to one million people are set to be given free vapes.

The government initiative, dubbed 'swap to stop', will see smokers urged to give up their cigarettes.

As part of the 'world-first' scheme, around one in five of all smokers in England will receive a vape starter kit.

They will also be offered behavioural support to help them kick the habit and get healthier, while pregnant women will be offered up to £400 in a bid to get them to stop.

It forms part of plans to meet the government's target of making the country smoke free by 2030, cutting the number of smokers to 5 percent of the population or less.

In a speech today, Health Minister Neil O’Brien will lay out plans for the groundbreaking scheme, which is set to be rolled out in local authorities later in the year.

Ahead of the announcement, he said: "Up to two out of three lifelong smokers will die from smoking. Cigarettes are the only product on sale which will kill you if used correctly.

One million people will be offered a free vape to help them kick the habit.
Lynne Sutherland/Alamy

"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."

The government will also today unveil a raft of ‘bold new measures’ to help combat the rising levels of youth vaping.

As part of the crackdown, a new ‘illicit vapes enforcement squad’ backed by £3 million of government funding will be brought in to enforce the rules on vaping, while also tackling illegal vapes and underage sales.

Working across the country, the squad will be led by Trading Standards and ‘share knowledge and intelligence across regional networks and local authorities’.

Alongside the enforcement squad, a ‘Call for Evidence’ is also being launched to identify opportunities to stop children vaping and reduce numbers of underage users.

Health Minister Neil O'Brien.
UK Government

It will also ensure vapes remain available for adult smokers as a ‘quit aid’.

O’Brien is due to outline the new measures in a speech at Policy Exchange tomorrow (April 12).

He said in a statement: “Smoking kills, so our priority is to prevent people smoking, and support them to quit. We remain committed to our ambition to be smoke-free by 2030.

“However, while vaping is a preferable alternative to smoking for adults, we are concerned about the rise in youth vaping, particularly the increasing use of disposable vaping products.

“The new illicit vapes enforcement squad will work across the country and clamp down on those businesses who sell vapes to children – which is illegal – and get them hooked on nicotine.

"Our Call for Evidence will also allow us to get a firm understanding of the steps we can take to reduce the number of children accessing and using vapes.”

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Health, Vaping, UK News, Politics