First 259,000 vapes will be provided to local authorities nationwide to support smokers to quit under the government’s Swap to Stop scheme.
The move is part of the brand new smokefree campaign by the NHS, encouraging smokers to make a quit attempt this January.
In a hard-hitting campaign film released on Thursday, former England goalkeeper and ex-smoker David James has joined a number of other ex-smokers to discuss the influence their parents’ smoking had on them taking up the habit themselves, and how being around children was their motivation to quit.
“I smoked for about 15 years and at the time, it was normal. My mum smoked, my friends smoked, it was around me. It didn’t take long for me to be hooked,” David James said.
“Looking back, it had a huge impact on my health and performance at the time, I wish I never started.
“My health, my children and my fans were huge motivators for me to quit – I didn’t want younger people to see me smoking and think it was okay.”
The UK is set to introduce a new law to stop children who turned 14 in 2023 – or are younger – from ever legally being sold tobacco in England.
The government said it has so far received requests from local authorities nationwide for an unprecedented 259,000 vapes under the world-first Swap to Stop scheme.
As part of the scheme, almost 1 in 5 of all smokers in England will be provided with a vape starter kit alongside behavioural support to help them quit the habit. This is part of a series of new measures to help the government meet its ambition of making England smokefree.
“Cigarettes are responsible for 64,000 deaths a year in England alone – no other consumer product kills up to two-thirds of its users,” public health minister Andrea Leadsom said.
“That’s why we need to act now to prevent our children from ever lighting one. Our historic Tobacco and Vapes Bill will protect the next generation from the harms of smoking and risk of addiction.”