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The amount of adult vapers in the United Kingdom currently sits at the highest it’s ever been. Recent survey results showed that approximately 7% of the UK adult population class themselves as vapers, that’s around 3 million which is just mind blowing to think it’s that many people, and so good to see that the number of adult smokers in the UK have dipped down to the lowest figure it’s ever been.
In my opinion, the reason for these numbers going up so significantly is because Vaping is so heavily supported here in the UK. I’d even argue that it’s the country that supports it the most, and the support comes from all of the right people. Public Health England, the Government and plenty of pro vaping groups like UKVIA and Action on Smoking and Health.
There’s been some recent further backing of Vaping from the powers that be which I’m going to take a look at in this blog, as well as the historical backing of Vaping by the above mentioned. Let’s get into it!
Public Health England Started Off The Support
If you’ve read any of my previous articles about support for Vaping in England as well as the UK, you would have 100% seen me reference the statement made by Public Health England about their stance on Vaping.
“Vaping is 95% Safer Than Smoking“
This was the statement made by PHE back in 2016 just as Vaping really started to take off in popularity and more advanced devices were entering on to the market from the Cig A Like devices which people were using. They couldn’t give Vaping the 100% safer moniker simply because there wasn’t any long term research done on Vaping and the possible effects it could have on the body due to it not being around long enough, and it still remains the same in 2023.
But a report which was commissioned by PHE and published by Cochrane further lamented this statement after more research was done on the topic of Vaping and studies started finding out that using an E-Cigarette was a considerably more successful way of quitting smoking, and people who turned to Vaping after quitting smoking had started decreasing their chances of catching deadly diseases that Smoking are associated with.
Public Health England are an arm of the Department for Health and Social Care in the UK and oversee a lot of things and it was founded to “protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities”
And to be fair, they’re doing a sterling job at things! Within the Department for Health and Social Care is Neil O’Brien who is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and he’s been at the forefront of pushing Vaping in the UK of recent times.
Swap To Stop Scheme Announced
As mentioned, Neil O’Brien has been quite a prominent figure recently when it comes to Government backing of Vaping as he was the person who unveiled the Government’s next steps in their bid to make England a Smoke Free country by 2030, a pledge they made back in 2021 but is looking to fail due to lack of support for things like Stop Smoking services being few and far between across the country, and lack of funding and support for the more deprived areas of England where smoking rates are the highest.
The primary thing which has stood out and received numerous praise from not only pro vaping groups in the UK, but from other countries as well is the Government’s “Swap to Stop” scheme they are rolling out this summer. The plan is to give 1 million free vapes away via Stop Smoking services in a bid to help those who are financially struggling have access to a free vape kit and to stop them smoking.
This is a thing that was trialled in some areas of the country prior, with Smoke Free Norfolk being the first stop smoking service to offer something like this and saw resounding success with it. And now the Government are hopeful that this will see nationwide success and the numbers of adult smokers will crash down even further by the time the next survey is conducted.
This scheme has been made with widespread praise as I’ve already mentioned, and it shows a super pro active approach from the UK Government towards Vaping, and also the belief that it can indeed help people quit smoking, as if it couldn’t, then why would they be supporting it in such a way?!
Chris Witty Speaks Out On Vaping
In the most recent show of support for Vaping, Professor Chris Whitty has spoken out on his views on Vaping in light of the upcoming COP10 summit, where it’s widely speculated Vaping is going to take an absolute hiding courtesy of World Health Organisation as they really not a fan of Vaping, and hold a heavy influence on some countries views on Vaping, but not here in England.
Professor Whitty wrote an article and it was published on the Gov.UK website, and it highlights the benefits of Vaping whilst also having a solid focus on the problems that the UK are facing with the current youth vaping outbreak which is down to Disposable Vapes, which I’ll come on to next in this article.
The key takeaways of Professor Whitty’s article is that he is a firm believer in people using E-Cigarettes as a way to quit smoking is a positive and successful approach, and quoted to say
“Using vapes (e-cigarettes) is a quitting tool many addicted smokers find effective, and given the multiple and immense health risks of smoking it is much safer to vape than to smoke. Swapping from smoking to vaping is therefore a positive health move.”
He also highlights and acknowledges the absolute harm and destruction to a person that smoking cigarettes can cause. He reminds people that smoking remains the UK’s number one cause of preventable death every single year, and smoking tobacco can lead to heart disease, lung disease, various different cancers, strokes and even dementia, and these reasons are why people are wanting to quit, or should want to quit.
But as mentioned, it’s not all celebrations and support for Vaping as there is a dark cloud looming over the Vaping world currently, and that comes in the form of the chaos that Disposable Vapes are causing. Let’s finish this blog off with a look at that.
It’s Not All Support For Vaping Unfortunately
Disposable Vapes are causing a lot of problems for the Vaping industry at the minute, with something new every week printed in the media of how bad they are, and how many youths are using them causing an “epidemic” which is a tiny bit far fetched by still they are a problem, and these are what is stopping the complete unison of support from people within the UK Government.
Earlier this year, Dr Caroline Johnson put forward a bill in the House of Commons to BAN the sale of Disposable Vapes in the UK, due to the problems they are causing with youth vaping as well as the harm they are causing to the environment as well due to the fact they are not able to be recycled despite being primarily made out of plastic.
The Bill has a long way to go before coming to fruition, so the ban if it comes to light isn’t likely to happen for a while, but this showed a clear lack of unison in support for Vaping as they believe Vaping on the whole is the cause of these problems, rather than just these devices specifically.
Professor Whitty also finished his article highlighting these problems also, and unfortunately, he does also give a little bit of a false statistic within his article to by saying that the number of youths vaping had increased over a 3 year period, when in fact a study by Action on Smoking and Health did show that it hadn’t risen at all in the last 12 months, which is a shame to see that these words are being spoken after such a positive start within this article.
To conclude, this support that has been appearing more and more for Vaping by our Government is really good to see, but with support comes criticism which isn’t always matching up nor using the right statistics at times which makes it seem worse than it actually is. I hope that the support from the Government to help make the Smoke Free 2030 campaign a success will continue, and we will see consistent buffs added to the levels of support already there, and hopefully the criticism of Vaping will decline down a notch as well.