UK View on Vaping
The UK government has taken a progressive approach to vaping in recent years. In 2016, the government’s Tobacco Control Plan acknowledged the potential benefits of vaping to help smokers quit traditional cigarettes. Since then, the government has continued to support vaping as a smoking cessation tool, while also taking steps to regulate the industry and protect public health
Benefits of Vaping
One of the key benefits of vaping is that it can be a less harmful alternative to smoking. Traditional cigarettes contain thousands of toxic chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancer and other serious health problems. Vaping, on the other hand, involves heating a liquid (known as e-juice or e-liquid) into a vapor that is inhaled. While e-juice can contain nicotine, flavourings, and other additives, it does not contain the harmful tar and other chemicals found in cigarettes.
Smoke Free Society & Government Targets
The UK government has recognized the potential benefits of vaping for smokers who are trying to quit. In fact, the government’s Tobacco Control Plan set a target of reducing smoking rates among adults in England to 12% or less by 2022. One way to achieve this goal is by promoting the use of vaping as a smoking cessation tool. The government is also aiming to:
- Reduce the number of 15-year-olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less
- Reduce the inequality gap in smoking prevalence, between those in routine and manual occupations and the general population.
- Reduce the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy from 10.7% to 6% or less
In 2023, the UK Government confirmed its intention to launch the world’s first “Swap to Stop” vaping scheme. Under the scheme, almost 1 in 5 smokers will be offered a free vape starter kit along with additional behaviour support to stop smoking. Pregnant women who smoke will also be offered financial incentives to help them quit. This scheme is designed to help the government achieve its ambition of a smokeless society by 2030.
Regulation To Support The UK E-Cigarette Industry
While the government supports the use of vaping as a smoking cessation tool, it also recognizes the need to regulate the industry and protect public health. In 2016, the UK introduced new regulations on vaping products, including a limit on the amount of nicotine that can be included in e-juice. The regulations also require manufacturers to include health warnings on their products and restrict the sale of certain types of vaping products, for example, tanks over 2ml.
Overall, the UK government’s approach to vaping is a balanced one that considers the potential benefits of vaping as a smoking cessation tool, while also recognizing the need to regulate the industry and protect public health. As more and more smokers turn to vaping to quit smoking, it is likely that the government will continue to support this approach.