UK: Free e-cigarettes for one million smokers

The UK government wants to give one million smokers in England free e-cigarettes to encourage them to quit tobacco.

UK: Free e-cigarettes for one million smokers

The UK government wants to give one million smokers in England free e-cigarettes to encourage them to quit tobacco. The goal is to make the country smoke-free by 2030, said the Ministry of Health in London. The government defines "smoke-free" as a smoking rate of less than five percent.

The "swap-to-stop" program is to be flanked by other measures - such as financial incentives for pregnant women to do without the fags. According to the information, almost every tenth woman in England currently smokes cigarettes during pregnancy. The government estimates the cost will be £45million (€51.3million) over two years.

Who gets the free vapes, Westminster wants to put in the hands of the municipalities. These could supplement the program with local measures.

"Up to two out of three people who smoke their entire lives die from it," Health Secretary Neil O'Brien said in a ministry statement. "Cigarettes are the only over-the-counter product that will kill you even if you use it properly," O'Brien said. Smoking is the most common cause of preventable diseases. Statistics show that one in four cancer deaths is due to smoking.

Smokers should be informed about the dangers of smoking through personal advice and information in the packs. There should also be stricter action against the illegal sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes.

Anti-tobacco organizations see the package of measures as insufficient. Without greater efforts, the goal of becoming smoke-free by 2030 will not be achieved.

Switching to e-cigarettes is also controversial. The vapor from e-cigarettes also has addictive potential, critics note. In Great Britain, around nine percent of school children between the ages of eleven and 15 already smoke vape cigarettes.

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