The UK government is launching a “swap to stop” scheme to make the country “smoke free” by offering vape starter kits to one million smokers. Pregnant women will be given up to £400 to quit smoking. The scheme is expected to cost around £45M over two years, and funding will come from the Department of Health and Social Care’s budget.
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The government hopes that a combination of financial incentives and behavioral support will help smokers quit, but campaigners have criticized the measures as “nowhere near sufficient” to achieve the goal of getting smoking rates to less than 5% by 2030.
The Health Minister for the country, Neil O’Brian shared, “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, 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.”
Cigarette smoking is one of the biggest public health threats the world has faces, killing more than 8 million people a year, including around 1.2 million deaths from exposure to second-hand smoke. Several developed countries have benefited greatly from introducing less harmful alternatives to cigarettes such as vapes, e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, nicotine pouches, among others. For example, in the United Kingdom, smoking rates have fallen to an all-time low of 14.1% thanks in part to widespread promotion of e-cigarettes and other nicotine replacement products.
Similarly, in Japan, where heated tobacco products have become increasingly popular, smoking rates have dropped to 17.8%, the lowest level in decades. These less harmful alternative products offer smokers a less harmful way to consume nicotine.
Introducing less harmful alternatives to traditional tobacco products can also have significant benefits for developing countries as well.
These countries often lack the resources to effectively regulate the sale and marketing of traditional tobacco products, leading to higher smoking rates and related health problems. By promoting alternatives like heated tobacco products, vapes, and e-cigarettes these countries can reduce the harm caused by traditional tobacco products and provide a safer and more regulated alternative for smokers.
According to a report by the World Health Organization, tobacco use is responsible for around 160,000 deaths each year in Pakistan. Smoking also causes a range of health problems, including lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.
Although no such initiative is currently being implemented in Pakistan, it is worth noting that less harmful alternatives like heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes are available in the market. These alternatives are not yet regulated in Pakistan, but they are gaining popularity among smokers who are trying to move away from cigarettes.
Less harmful alternatives like heated tobacco products and nicotine patches can provide smokers with a potentially reduced risk route to let go off cigarettes. These alternatives do not involve burning of tobacco and so do not produce harmful smoke, which can significantly reduce the risk of health problems associated with smoking.
While there are currently no “swap to stop” schemes in Pakistan, smokers can still benefit from alternatives to cigarettes. They offer a range of options to help smokers, and it is essential to explore these options if you are trying to give up on cigarettes.
In conclusion, the “swap to stop” scheme in England is a significant step towards a smoke-free future, and smokers in Pakistan can also benefit from alternatives like heated tobacco products and nicotine patches. Quitting smoking is an important step towards a healthier lifestyle, but for those who would continue smoking, switching to alternatives is the next best thing they can do for their health.