UK Providing 259,000 Free Vapes Under Swap to Stop Scheme

UK free vapes smoking cessation

The UK government is supplying local authorities with 259,000 free vaping starter kits as part of its Swap to Stop smoking cessation initiative. The program aims to encourage and support smokers to quit through switching to less harmful vaping alternatives.

The vape provision comes alongside a hard-hitting new NHS smokefree campaign launched in January 2023. It features former professional soccer goalkeeper David James discussing his experiences with smoking and what ultimately motivated him to stop.

Personal Motivations to Quit Smoking

In the campaign video, David James reveals that he smoked for around 15 years, having started the habit as a teen when smoking was more socially normalized.

“My mum smoked, my friends smoked, it was around me. It didn’t take long for me to be hooked,” James recounts. “Looking back, it had a huge impact on my health and performance at the time. I wish I never started.”

James explains that concerns over being a role model for younger fans and a desire to protect his own children’s health were big motivators for quitting smoking. “I didn’t want younger people to see me smoking and think it was okay,” he says.

Swap to Stop Initiative Aims for a Smokefree England

The testimonial video promotes Swap to Stop, a first-of-its-kind government initiative providing smokers with free vape starter kits and behavioral support to quit cigarettes.

With around 6 million smokers in England, the initial 259,000 vapes represent nearly 5% of the total smoking population. The ambitious program aims to help England meet the government goal of becoming smokefree by 2030.

“Cigarettes are responsible for 64,000 deaths a year in England alone – no other consumer product kills up to two-thirds of its users,” said Minister of Public Health Andrea Leadsom. The groundbreaking vape provision initiative seeks to reduce this enormous tobacco-related disease burden over the next decade.

New Laws Protecting Youth from Smoking

The UK government also continues implementing legislation to discourage smoking uptake among children and teenagers who have their lives ahead of them.

In 2023, England introduced a new law prohibiting the commercial sale of tobacco products to anyone born after January 1, 2009 – effectively restricting legal sales to those over age 14. This policy aims to prevent another generation from becoming addicted to the nation’s deadliest consumer product.

Matthew Ma