Government may abandon Tobacco Control Plan

The UK is making strides to reduce the harm caused by smoking, which is the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in the England. In 2019 the government set a goal for England to be smokefree by 2030. The tobacco control plan was put into action to achieve this target.

What is the tobacco control plan?
The main objectives of the tobacco control plan are to:

·Reduce the number of 15 year olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less
·Reduce smoking among adults in England from 15.5% to 12% or less
·Reduce the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy from 10.7% to 6% or less
·Reduce the inequality gap in smoking prevalence, between those in routine and manual occupations and the general population

As a part of this plan, the NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) Long Term Tobacco Dependency Project will increase their investment to tackle dependency within acute, mental and maternity services.

How can we achieve the 2030 smoke free target?
The government must continue to embrace the promotion of vaping as an effective tool to help people stop smoking. We saw steps being taken in the right direction from previous Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid.

E-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS in England to help people stop smoking tobacco products. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is publishing updated guidance that paves the way for medicinally licensed e-cigarette products to be prescribed for tobacco smokers who wish to quit smoking.

Manufactures will have to submit their products through the same regulatory approvals process as other medicines available through the NHS. This could mean England becomes the first country in the world to prescribe e-cigarettes licensed as a medical product.

Speaking on the benefits this could bring, Sajid Javid said:

“Opening the door to a licensed e-cigarette prescribed on the NHS has the potential to tackle the stark disparities in smoking rates across the country, helping people stop smoking wherever they live and whatever their background.”

Switching from smoking to vaping can reduce major health risks
Vaping exposes consumers to fewer toxins at lower levels than tobacco cigarettes. The toxins from tobacco smoke can lead to serious illnesses, including lung disease, heart disease and even strokes.

Vaping on the other hand has been proven substantially less harmful than smoking. Researchers at King’s College London said smokers who switched to vaping would experience a “substantial reduction” in their exposure to toxic substances that cause cancer, lung and cardiovascular disease.

Dr Debbie Robson, a Senior Lecturer in Tobacco Harm at King’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience mentioned,

“The levels of exposure to cancer causing and other toxicants are drastically lower in people who vape compared with those who smoke.”

Potentially abandoning the tobacco control plan and its impact
Current Health Secretary Steve Barclay is potentially looking to cancel the plans to make the country tobacco free by 2030 – possibly ending the hopes of saving an extra 500,000 lives. Whitehall sources say he is considering raising the legal age for buying tobacco one year every year until no-one was able to buy cigarettes at all.

If there is a stop to the tobacco control plan, we will see major impacts on our country if we do not achieve these targets. The disadvantages will be more lost days in school, work or training, from suffering with sickness and health problems, which will lead to more strain on the NHS.

This could lead to more public sector resources needed for services such as social care, as a result of having an unhealthier workforce. More of our population will have to increase their workload to take care of those who are experiencing poor health, which could lead to a tremendous strain on our economy.

Vaping can help you give up smoking cigarettes
Switching from cigarettes to vaping can be an effective way to give up smoking. It’s found to be a cleaner alternative to cigarettes and can still provide the same fulfilment that smokers may be looking for.

Unlike smoking cigarettes, vaping does not involve inhaling smoke. The vapor created from e-cigarettes is composed of fewer toxins than traditional cigarette smoke. This makes it easier on your lungs and can reduce coughing an irritation that is associated with smoking.

Vaping can also help reduce cravings associated with smoking and many people find that it can provide a similar satisfaction but without the unhealthy side effects.

When cravings do arise, you can vape in replacement of smoking which can help you gradually reduce your dependency on cigarettes, and even to give up smoking altogether.

Overall, smokers have found that switching to vaping has helped them break the habits of smoking cigarettes and hugely reduced their cravings for it.

We fully support the tobacco control plan and do not wish to see this abandoned. Vaping has been a big part of the discussion when it comes to smokefree 2030, as e-cigarettes are widely recognised to be a crucial tool in helping to achieve it. We hope our government can continue to make great strides towards creating a smoke free country.