The Incredible New Way The UK Is Leading Vaping This Time
Food banks in one part of the UK are soon to provide e-cigarettes, free of charge, to the smokers who need them most.
It doesn’t take long to realize that vaping is handled very differently depending on where you live. Legislators around the world have worked over the last ten-plus years to lay out the regulatory framework for this brand new industry. The end result has been a massive discrepancy between vaping laws in different countries, or even states. For example, Australia has long been very strict about vaping, all but banning them outright. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has proven to be the leading voice in vaping rights, studying them thoroughly and choosing to incorporate them into their smoking cessation programs. According to reports, the UK will once again lead the charge, as some food banks are set to provide e-cigarettes to smokers in need.
Reactions to the news have been overwhelmingly positive from the vaping community, with many praising the administrators for providing a massive boost to not only smokers looking to quit, but especially those struggling to pay for basic necessities. At the same time, anti-vapers have blasted the decision for sending the wrong message to teens about the dangers of vaping. Regardless, most analysts agree this exciting program will be seen in some form or fashion; However, some remain worried, as it’s not set in stone just yet.
The plans were first officially discussed during a meeting of the Hertfordshire County Council’s Public Health and Prevention Panel back on May 9th. Jim McManus, the Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council, gave a brief overview of their proposed plan to provide e-cigarettes to those who need them most. He referenced a widening gap in adverse smoking-related health outcomes between working-class groups and middle-class groups as a primary driver of the plan. In fact, according to McManus, only 12.7% of their overall population smokes, while the rate is doubled when looking at working-class demographics.
The proposed plan would offer a free e-cigarette starter kit to smokers at Hertfordshire food banks. They estimate that for a pack-a-day smoker, making the switch can save around £70 a week, while simultaneously significantly reducing your exposure to dangerous chemicals. If passed, the plan would be fully designed, run, and evaluated by a research team from a respected UK university. Mr. McManus is quite optimistic the program, called the Hertfordshire Tobacco Control Strategic Plan 2019-22, will be up and running by the end of this year in several food banks across the county.
It’s not exactly hard to understand how UK legislators can gain so much support for these programs when you take a look at the peer-reviewed evidence. In fact, it actually becomes pretty hard to understand how the rest of the world lags behind so much. For starters, we’ve known since at least 2015 thanks to Public Health England that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. That was one of the first massive reports on the relative risk of vaping, but ever since there has been a ton of inquiry into this question. In fact, just a few months back researchers at Roswell Park Institute concluded the toxicants in vapor are about 93% lower than in tobacco smoke. However, the clearest piece of research we have for the harm reduction value of vaping is the report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
It’s not just harm reduction value vaping provides either. We also have plenty of independent research which strongly suggests vaping is an invaluable tool in the fight against tobacco. A study by researchers at the University of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation tools and methods to determine the most likely to succeed. After collecting all their data, the team concluded that not only is vaping an effective smoking cessation tool, but it’s actually more likely to succeed than anything else. But even with all this positive research, there are still plenty who are skeptical about vaping because of their perceived impact on teens. Luckily, we have a massive report which quells many of these fears. According to a survey of over 60,000 students by Action on Smoking and Health, only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer more than a couple times.
The UK is proving once again they’re the undisputed leader when it comes to vaping regulation and utilization. Not only are they set to provide e-cigarettes to those who need them most, but there hasn’t been much visual pushback. Just imagine the same thing being proposed in America and you can envision the media storm it would cause. It’s great to see the UK continue to push the envelope when it comes to vaping. The more success they have with innovative programs like this, the easier it will become for other countries to follow suit down the road.
Are you surprised by this program? Do you think other countries would have success trying to do similar programs? What’s the most important thing to remember when making a switch? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.