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Vaping: A Solution to the Financial Abyss?

Mark Oates, director of consumer advocacy group We Vape, says that vaping poses a solution to the financial abyss faced by households due to Liz Truss’s “disastrous mini budget”

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Mark Oates, director of consumer advocacy group We Vape, says that vaping poses a solution to the financial abyss faced by households due to Liz Truss’s “disastrous mini budget”. He argues that the promotion of vaping would also help the Prime Minister to “reduce the financial burden on a crippled NHS”.

Households are staring into a financial abyss as the cost of living crisis worsens, with no end in site, says Mark Oates.

Finance commentator Martin Lewis now predicts the energy price cap could increase to £3,700 next April. Food bills continue to rise at an unprecedented rate. Filling the tank leaves many in a state of shock. And this is the new normal.

Yet as Rishi Sunak attempts to navigate the country out of Truss’s disastrous mini budget, he has a unique opportunity to not only save millions of people cash, but also significantly reduce the financial burden on a crippled NHS, now facing a mass strike by nurses,” comments Oates.

It is five months since the Dr Javed Khan report into ‘making smoking obsolete’ was published. Little has been done since as the Conservatives battled through groping and bullying scandals and two leadership contests in as many months.

“But the government commissioned review made it perfectly clear - vaping should be promoted at every level to save lives, whilst making sure young people and non-smokers do not start. This is because every credible health source - from Cancer Research UK to the NHS - now accepts vaping is far safer than smoking.

“So, if the review concluded vaping is good, it makes sense to have a road map on how to tell people about it. This will save many households thousands of pounds a year, the NHS millions and prevent countless preventable deaths from cancer.”

The figures that surround smoking are frightening: Pre-pandemic it costs £192bn a year to run the NHS. The Government’s own figures show smoking alone costs the NHS £2.5billion a year. In total it costs the economy £14.7billion.

Health wise smoking remains the biggest cause of preventable death in the UK. In England alone, 78,000 people a year - or 200 per day - die from smoking.

But away from public health, the cost of smoking on households is also a pressing matter.

According to Cancer Research UK, smokers spend on average £475 on cigarettes every three months, or £1900 a year. This compares to £180 every three months or £720 a year for vapers - over 2.5 times less than those who smoke.

Mark Oates continues: “We also know smoking rates are much higher for people on the lowest incomes. A study completed by ASH UK found that of the 1.4 million households in England living in poverty, 418,127 would be elevated above the poverty line if the cost of smoking was returned to them.

“So, smoking wreaks havoc on the NHS and the pockets of those addicted. The cold reality is this winter is going to bite for a lot of people.

“Despite the current price cap - £2,500 is still crippling for many households - millions are still expected to choose between Christmas presents or warmth. Fuel prices, though stabilising, remain high and the cost of a weekly shop continues to rise.

“In summary, and more than ever, our health services are in desperate need of a financial break and the poorest households need to find ways to save money. Well both needs can be met, if the government does what its own smoking report says it should. By implementing Dr Khan’s review recommendations and honouring our commitment to making England smoke free by 2030, the human and financial cost plummets from day one.

“We know the more people who vape, the less money it costs the NHS treating smoking related illnesses. We also know those who vape instead of smoke are likely to live longer and have money in their pocket.

“Khan recommended as a ‘must do’, the education of doctors, NHS staff and other health professionals in the benefits of vaping. He also said vaping should be offered as a substitute for smoking and wants a saturation media campaign and investment in local stop smoking services. But when?

“A government campaign to promote vaping immediately is a no brainer and could be green lit today. But it takes a leader to do it. As Sunak is forced to buy billions of cubic metres of gas off Biden to try and counter the energy crisis and save Brits money, he should not ignore the easy wins at home.

“We know the Khan review recommendations will save lives and reduce the burden on the NHS, but the time it takes to implement them matters. This is because inaction to stop a national harm eventually affects someone we value, and the cost is usually dear.”

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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