One of the biggest revelations in 2022 for vaping was the recommendation from healthcare experts like the NHS, for pregnant smokers to choose vaping as an alternative. This formed a part of the findings given in the latest UK Gov-led e-cigarette evidence report in September ’22.
The message of harm reduction vs smoking has been stressed in every report produced since the landmark 2015 issue, which famously stated that vaping was 95% safer than smoking.
As the future of Britain’s ‘smokefree 2030’ becomes more clouded amidst government infighting, one thing has remained front and centre – tobacco harm reduction cannot be significantly achieved without vaping.
This has gone from being the mantra of those with a financial interest in the vaping industry, to a critical point in many of the most influential reviews of national healthcare and Stop Smoking Services (SSS), such as The Khan Report, in the UK and beyond. Experts across the board are shouting about the potential benefit of getting Devices and e-liquids into the hands of smokers.
The NHS, while not yet endorsing vapes on prescription, regularly push for greater adoption of vaping into SSS. Their website also promotes vaping as one of the best alternatives to smoking available, citing fantastic quit rates and harm reduction as the main reason why people should give it a go.
One such promotion can be found on their page advising pregnant women to stop smoking. On this page they sate:
“E-cigarettes are fairly new and there are still some things we do not know. However, current evidence on e-cigarettes indicates they are much less risky than smoking.
Cigarettes deliver nicotine along with thousands of harmful chemicals. E-cigarettes allow you to inhale nicotine through a vapour rather than smoke. By itself, nicotine is relatively harmless.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, the 2 main toxins in cigarette smoke. Carbon monoxide is particularly harmful to developing babies. The vapour from an e-cigarette does contain some of the potentially harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.
If using an e-cigarette helps you to stop smoking, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.”
Free Vapes For Women in Lambeth
While health will always be an impetus to encourage people to quit smoking, the financial savings have also been hailed as significant – it has been estimated that if the annual costs of smoking could be replaced with vaping or quitting altogether, over a million households in England alone could be raised above the poverty line.
In a double-whammy, Lambeth council has taken a major stride in tackling this issue, by providing pregnant smokers with free vaping starter kits. This was triggered in light of data from the Office of National Statistics that a record 4.3 million smokers have now switched to vaping, pushing the national smoking rate to a record low of 13%.
Councillors believe the free kits will help women stop spending on cigarettes, and experts say their families could become around £2000 better off. The scheme has been launched as Lambeth council confirmed over 3000 homes in the constituency fall below the poverty line.
The council believes that giving out free vape starter kits will offer a dual benefit of removing the poisons associated with smoking from those homes and, by encouraging the mothers to quit, will save them money due to vapes costing far less than packets of cigarettes.
Attitudes Towards the Pregnant Vaping Scheme
Councillor Kind, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, says that the free starter kits being given out to pregnant women will help families to save circa “£2k per year per family”, which could prove vital during the cost-of-living crisis and boost the local economy.
He went on to say: “It is estimated that over 3,000 households in Lambeth fall under the poverty line due to smoking, and many of these households include children”, adding that the new scheme will improve “the health of the family and saving money.”
Supporting the decision, representatives from Queen Mary University of London stated in a recent study: “While many women stop smoking when they become pregnant, some find it difficult to stop, particularly those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.”
In addition, lead academic behind a number of vaping evidence reports, Professor Peter Hajek commented: “E-cigarettes can help smokers quit and are as safe as nicotine patches. Many stop smoking services are already using e-cigarettes as an option for smokers generally. Such use can now be adopted in stop-smoking services for pregnant women as well.”
If the Lambeth Scheme see’s success, it will join a growing body of evidence which has brought vaping to the brink of total acceptance into stop smoking schemes, and wellbeing initiatives across the country – 2023 could well be the year of the ‘medical vape’: watch this space!
With over 6 years within the vaping industry, Ian has amassed a wealth of knowledge that is unparalleled throughout the industry. His knowledge extends beyond e-liquids and devices, but covers safety and compliance as well as best practice and more to name but a few.