Nearly half of smokers will receive free vape starter kits. Bristol, England

Almost half of smokers in the Bristol area are to be offered free e-cigarette starter kits on the NHS as part of a “world-first” initiative to help people quit.

 

Nearly half of smokers in the Bristol area are to be offered free e-cigarette starter kits on the NHS as part of a “world-first” initiative to help people quit smoking.

 

The local health authority has successfully applied to the government for £2.2 million to cover the cost of 60,000 units.

 

The Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) council heard that the scheme aimed to help smokers switch from cigarettes to straws, which are considered safer.

 

There are an estimated 144,320 tobacco users across the region, 60% of whom are in urban areas.

 

The ICP has set itself the goal of being “smoke-free” by 2030/31, meaning less than 5% of adults smoke.

 

But until then, about 24,000 people a year need to quit smoking.

 

The government announced a pioneering free e-cigarette scheme called Swap to Stop in April, and the ICP’s tender has just been approved.

Men smoking

The government announced a pioneering free e-cigarette initiative called Swap to Stop in April.

Public health consultant Samuel Hayward told board members that Bristol had the highest smoking rate in the South West, partly because of the legacy of the tobacco industry.

 

“The evidence clearly shows that nicotine smoking is a much less risky option for smokers, with short – and medium-term risks that are a fraction of those of smoking,” he said.