Public Health Northamptonshire are implementing a series of innovative changes to their Stop Smoking Service, to help reach the government target of a smoke-free generation by 2030. From February 2020, smokers in Northamptonshire have the option to choose a free e-cigarette starter kit and a supply of e- liquid when they take part in the 12 week stop smoking programme.
Despite significant reductions in the amount of people smoking in Northamptonshire over the last 20 years, there are still more than 87,000 smokers in the county. The Service says: “Smokers can expect to die 10 years earlier than non-smokers, and for every 1 smoker that dies, 30 live with a serious smoking related illness, placing an increased strain on our health and social care system. Each year, smoking takes the lives of hundreds of Northamptonshire residents, and costs the local economy more than £160 million.”
It is for these reasons that tobacco control has remained high on the agenda for Public Health Northamptonshire. The service is embracing vaping as a way to significantly reduce the harm caused by cigarettes. It acknowledges Public Health England stating that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking and adds that “vaping carries a small fraction of the risk of smoking and has been found to be almost twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy in helping smokers to quit.”
The Stop Smoking Service already have advisors working across the county to provide expert behavioural support and advice to any Northamptonshire smokers looking to kick the habit, but now those who choose to use an e-cigarette will be given a Totally Wicked ‘Skope S’ starter kit and up to 16 bottles of e-liquid, in various strengths and flavours.
Over the next 12 months the service will also be running a series of workplace interventions, providing e-cigarettes and voucher incentives to those looking to stop smoking. This work, funded by the East Midlands Cancer Alliance, gives routine and manual workplaces the opportunity to significantly improve the health and wellbeing of their employees at absolutely no cost.
Northamptonshire’s rate of smoking in pregnancy has reduced, but it remains significantly higher (worse) than the national average. Smoking can be linked to complications in pregnancy, stillbirth, premature births, and sudden infant death syndrome. Services in other parts of the United Kingdom have already started using e-cigarettes as a way to improve outcomes for babies and expectant mothers, and this option will now be available to pregnant women in Northamptonshire.
Councillor Ian Morris, Cabinet member for Public Health and wellbeing said: “Whilst not entirely risk free, vaping is considerably safer than smoking. The consequences of continuing to use tobacco, which kills 1 out of every 2 lifetime users, far exceed any potential harm posed by e- cigarettes. Public Health Northamptonshire is encouraging all smokers to switch to e-cigarettes as soon as possible, and to engage with the Northamptonshire Stop Smoking Service for expert support and advice.”
The Service recommends: “If you don’t smoke, don’t start vaping. If you do smoke, make the switch as soon as possible.”
If you are a Northamptonshire resident that would like to stop smoking please contact 0300 126 5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org