What Does Smokefree 2030 Mean For Vapers?
In 2019, the UK government published its initiative to have England smoke-free by 2030. The initiative's goals had implications not only for tobacco users but also for vapers.
Several changes are already underway three years into the initiative. But for some, these legal changes have raised concerns about how the Smoke-Free 2030 initiative will impact vapers.
What Is Smokefree 2030?
Smokefree 2030 was part of a nationwide initiative to curb tobacco use. When first passed, the definition of ‘smoke-free' meant that only 5% of the country's population would smoke. The objective is part of a larger scheme with the end goal of seeing life expectancy lengthened by five years post 2030.
The initiative has received support from various organisations for the same cause, like the Smoke-Free Action organisation, which then introduced its roadmap to success. The UK government has adopted the plan.
The roadmap includes raising funds to support current smokers in their endeavour to quit, increasing the legal age of purchase, and legislating stricter enforcement of tobacco laws.
Currently, the UK government isn't as on track as it aimed. Although progress is steady, and the number of those who smoke is lowering, they have not met their targets. It also takes a vast amount of money to support an extensive campaign such as this, and the hunt for investors is continuous.
What Are the Motivating Factors?
One of the most apparent factors, of course, relates to health. The health risks show that 7 out of 10 lung cancer cases result from smoking.
Most people in the UK start smoking at a young age, lacking the knowledge regarding how significant of an impact smoking will have on their health and wellbeing. Adults find themselves trapped in the system.
Surveys indicate cigarette users form addiction early, with 80% of smokers starting before the age of 20 and two-thirds of young people smoking before the age of 18.
Such adults might not have ever started the habit in their adult years if they had not started naively and perhaps underage. The Smoke-Free 2030 objective considers that there is an element of prevention rather than reaction required here. Hence, the focus is on tightening laws concerning tobacco sales and licenses to protect and prohibit sales to underage users.
The after-effects of health complications are costly for the NHS too. In 2018, the tobacco commissioning guidance stated that the cost of smoking in this country and the economy is £14.7 billion per annum, with the NHS shouldering £2.5 billion of that burden.
As well as the cost of physical health, smoking and mental health are heavily tied. Initially, smoking can reduce stress, but prolonged nicotine dependency causes the reverse. Cravings and addiction are the causes of stress. Smoking again will alleviate the withdrawal experienced, but not necessarily the tension felt along with it.
What Does Smokefree 2030 Mean for Vaping?
As inflation is impacting how affordable cigarettes are, and considering the potential health implications documented over the years, vapes are as popular as ever. Electronic cigarettes can take many forms and contain different amounts of nicotine, including zero-nicotine options.
The amount chosen by the customer usually reflects how many conventional cigarettes they smoked on a given day. Smokefree 2030 could have various implications for these vapers who switch to vaping for smoking cessation.
The current legal age to purchase an electronic cigarette is 18. The government plan aims to raise the age to 21, affecting the purchase of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes. It marks another step in addressing the prevention of young people accessing such products and becoming addicted after that.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) have conducted studies regarding individuals who reside in social housing, forecasting that these people will benefit most from quitting. The benefits will show through improved mental health and more expendable income.
A pilot study in Salford tested vapes and their effect on smoking cessation. Providing smokers in council-owned properties vouchers to purchase vape equipment has shown a significant difference in success rates for quitting smoking. The study also reflected that the success rates dropped once the study ended and the equipment was no longer available.
In the future, those who use vapes or are hoping to make the change may receive funded government assistance. There is even the possibility that e-cigarettes will be available on prescription. Such initiatives will depend on the results of future trials and studies showing success rates.
In the time leading to 2030, the nation will likely continue to see public and government organisations enhancing programs that support vaping as a tool to quit. However, it will be under heavier regulation. The National Health Service also advises using vapes in this manner as an effective tool to quit smoking and replace conventional cigarettes.
Progress is currently underway with the Smoke-Free 2030 initiative, and the country has seen vast improvements. It's also encouraging that the government recognises the benefits of using vapes when trying to quit traditional smoking.
The Smoke-Free 2030 plan's most significant impact will affect young people in our society, but it’s clear to legislators, researchers, and health organisations that the work continues. More studies will have to take place and more advice given for the country to reduce cigarette dependency to the 5% threshold.