Suffolk County Council add vaping products to list of free aids to help reduce smoking in the county
An e-cigarette scheme is to be rolled out in Suffolk this summer in a bid to reduce the number of smokers in the county.
Suffolk County Council said it will be adding vaping products to its programme of stop smoking aids, because research had indicated it was more effective than some other measures such as nicotine patches.
According to a report to the county council, the aids are not risk free but they are twice as effective and one fifth of the cost of other stop smoking aids.
A launch date is yet to be announced for the programme this summer, but the authority confirmed that through OneLife Suffolk, smokers aged 18 or over wanting to kick the habit will be able to access a free support service that features up to 12 weeks’ supply with a starter kit and choice of e-cigarette liquid.
Andrew Reid, Conservative cabinet member for public health and protection, said: “There is increasing evidence that e-cigarettes are an effective way to quit smoking and are 95 per cent less harmful than smoking tobacco.
"E-cigarettes are now the most common stop smoking aid in England with 2.8million users in 2020.
“The increased use of vaping products in quit attempts suggest that vaping products could reach more people who smoke and have more impact than other nicotine replacement products.
“Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death in England, and supporting people to quit smoking remains a priority.”
Public Health England data for 2020 suggested that 13.7 per cent of the county’s adults were smokers, compared to 12.1 per cent for the national average.
That included 11.9 per cent of women and 15.6 per cent of men.
The council said it hoped using the e-cigarettes would help drive numbers down quicker.
The programme comes after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) last year updated its guidance to include use of e-cigarettes as an aid to stop smoking.
The council confirmed that no additional funding would need to go into the project, as e-cigarettes are cheaper than equivalent nicotine replacement therapies.
Anyone over the age of 12 can access stop smoking services for free, but e-cigarettes will only be available to those aged 18 and over.
To find out more about support available, call OneLife Suffolk on 01473 718193 or visit www.onelifesuffolk.co.uk