UK government wants smoke free by 2030

It's a grand goal the UK government has set for themselves, to finally be "smokefree" by 2030, but is it possible and how will they do it?

 

 

 

Cancer Research UK, ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) and others all support this and have set a road map of sorts to get the UK away from cigarettes for good.

 

 

 

The plan boils down to taxing both tobacco companies and cigarettes themselves to not only make cigarettes less affordable, but to fund stop-smoking services across the country.

 

 

 

But what they don't mention are the help e-cigarettes can give, and what they could do to get more people off cigarettes for good.

 

 

 

 

 

UK smoking 

 

 

This may seem like an ambitious goal, after all getting everyone to stop smoking in the next 10 years would be quite the feat, but there is good reason for why they think this is possible.

 

 

 

Currently the UK has the lowest amount of smokers in Europe, with only 1 in 7 people smoking. The problem is though is that this number isn't going down that much anymore.

 

 

 

That number has become quite static, with most people who are likely to quit already having done so. That leaves those who are unwilling or unable to quit left.This new plan by the UK government then is planning to get to even these smokers, so we can finally say that the UK is smoke free.

 

 

 

And it's not hard to see why this is so important either, from a health standpoint smoking is the No.1 preventable killer in the world. In the UK alone it kills almost 80,000 people a year, many from cancer, strokes and heart disease. 1 in 4 cancer deaths are because of smoking and that number is even higher for heart disease.

 

 

 

Those smoking doesn't kill are still put in to harms way, with almost 1/2 a million smokers interred into hospital because of their habit every year.

 

 

 

From an economic point of view smoking cost the country a huge amount too. The latest figure puts the cost of smoking on the country at £12.6 Billion every year. It is no wonder why the UK government wants to cut smoking.

 

 

 

The Roadmap

 

 

The plan to create a smoke free UK by 2030 rests on two main ideas, taxing the tobacco companies and cigarettes to raise money, and then spending the money on stop smoking services.

 

 

 

Stop smoking services have been cut over the years, with it £700 million less given each year. The UK government wants to reverse this as well as offering more services for those put into hospital due to smoking.

 

 

 

Many of the charities that support this road map want this to be expanded, as it might be too late if offer stop smoking services to those already in hospital. Instead they want this expanded to all the local GP's as well.

 

 

 

The tax that is being suggested would have to be quite large to cover all this, and that is partly the point. The tax would first focus on the tobacco companies themselves, and would focus on any tobacco being imported into the country. The roadmap though also focuses on individual packs of cigarettes, suggesting that more tax be added to raise the price of cigarettes.

 

This would not only raise money for all the stop smoking services that the road map is suggesting, but it would also make it less affordable for people to buy cigarettes. The price rise could be quite significant as well, as the tobacco companies would naturally pass the extra tax onto the customer, so not only would smokers being paying the extra tax on packs of cigarettes themselves, but the import of the tobacco as well.

 

 

 

The current thinking is that by making it more expensive to buy cigarettes it will make smokers re-think buying them. And this does have some success, as cigarettes are fast approaching a price where starting to smoke is just too expensive.

 

For people just starting it might make a difference, but for long term smokers there is little evidence that this will work. As was mentioned previously the numbers of smokers has stayed static in the last few years, and the price of cigarettes has continued to go up.

 

 

 

E-cigarettes and smoke free UK

 

 

What isn’t mentioned in the road map though is what e-cigarettes can do, and are doing to help with a smoke free UK.

 

 

 

There is a lot of talk about stop smoking services, but it has been proven that e-cigarettes are the most effective method for smokers to get of cigarettes. One study showed that a smoker who uses e-cigarettes to get off cigarettes was almost twice as likely to succeed compared to patches and gum.

 

 

 

In fact in the UK alone over 1.5 million smokers have stopped using cigarettes entirely because of e-cigarettes, and as they have only been around in Europe for 8 years that is saying something!

 

 

 

And it’s not hard to see why either, e-cigarettes not only give the smoker the nicotine they need (like the patches and gum) but the taste and feel of a cigarette as well. Unlike patches and gum, e-cigarettes fulfil the chemical addiction AND the long-ingrained habit of smoking.

 

That’s why e-cigarettes can be so effective, as a smoker doesn’t have to try and give up a habit they have had for 30+ years, they just have to move to a less harmful alternative.

 

 

 

Public Health England, the UK government’s health agency, has even said that e-cigarettes are “at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes”. This is down to the fact that e-cigarettes only contain 4 ingredients, not the 4000+ and 50+ carcinogens like in a cigarette.

 

 

 

The UK government then is fully aware of how much better e-cigarettes are for a smoker, it is odd then that e-cigarettes aren’t more actively promoted in this road map.

 

 

 

Here at SMOKO we are fully on board with a smoke free UK as smoking causes a huge amount of damage and misery every day. But for many people patches won’t be enough to get them off cigarettes, and by not including e-cigarettes in the road map they are missing a huge opportunity.

 

 

 

However that doesn’t mean that smokers can’t be pro-active, and start with e-cigarettes today and help move the UK towards that smoke free 2030. If you have been thinking about getting off cigarettes then give one of our E-Cigarette starter kits a try and see if you can finally get off cigarettes.

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