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No Smoking Day Ignores Vaping

Due to Andrea Leadsom MP’s influence, the Department for Health and Social Care side-lined vaping as part of its No Smoking Day campaign this year

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Ex-smoker Andrea Leadsom MP has a dim take on the use of electronic cigarettes. In the past she co-sponsored anti vape legislative proposals and made many flawed statements in the House of Commons. This year’s No Smoking Day campaign saw vaping shamefully reduced to a bit-part role.

The 5.3 million smokers in England were urged to make a quit attempt during last week’s No Smoking Day, with the Government saying it is “one of the best things they can do for their health and their wealth”.

With up to two in three long-term smokers dying from smoking and causing 64,000 deaths in England each year, the Government claimed “No Smoking Day remains important 40 years on from its launch.” But, rather than pushing vaping as the most successful quit smoking aid, the Department of Health co-opted Coleen Nolan to tell people why she is stopping smoking. Not stopped smoking. Not successfully quit. A minor celebrity thinking about quitting.

That, and Leadsom talking about “the Prime Minister’s landmark legislation to create a smokefree generation” was preferred to plugging vaping.  

Leadsom’s department said: “The campaign comes as part of the government’s bold plans to bring about the first smokefree generation and introduce legislation so children turning fifteen this year or younger can never legally be sold tobacco.  Almost every minute of every day someone is admitted to hospital in England with a smoking-related disease and in 2022-23 there were over 400,000 hospital admissions in England due to smoking.  

“Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health, at any age, and the benefits begin immediately. After eight hours your oxygen levels recover and the harmful carbon monoxide level in your blood will have reduced by half. After 48 hours all carbon monoxide will have flushed out, your lungs will clear out mucus and your sense of taste and smell improve. 

“Stopping smoking is also one of the best things people can do to save money to spend on other things. The average smoker spends around £47 a week on tobacco, which is around £2,450 a year. More broadly, it costs society over £17 billion per year, which includes a £14 billion cost to productivity and £3 billion cost to the NHS and social care.”

Public Health Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “Smoking is the biggest preventable killer in the UK and places a huge burden on our NHS. Cigarettes are responsible for 64,000 deaths a year in England - no other consumer product kills up to two-thirds of its users.  

“That’s why No Smoking Day is still so important 40 years on from its launch.  We are taking action to prevent our children from ever lighting a cigarette, and our proposed historic Tobacco and Vapes Bill will safeguard the next generation from the harms of smoking and risk of addiction.

“Up to two in three long-term smokers will die from their smoking. Despite the harms associated with smoking, it’s estimated that nearly 50 million cigarettes are smoked every day in England, with every single one negatively impacting the smoker’s health.”

One hundred and twenty-eight words from her and not one of them was vape or ecig. The Khan Review demanded the Government paid more attention to vape promotion and yet under Andrea Leadsom’s time at the Department we’ve regressed to the kind of lack of support not seen since 2012.

Chief Medical Officer for England Professor ​​Chris Whitty did no better, restricting his comments to: “Cigarettes kill. They cause at least 15 different types of cancers and increase your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health - no matter your age or how long you have smoked.”

Buried near the end of an 1800-word press release lay a single sentence: “As part of the government’s Swap to Stop scheme, almost one in five of all adult smokers in England will have access to a vape kit alongside behavioural support to help them quit the habit and improve health outcomes.”

It’s almost like neither Dame Leadsom nor Professor ​​Whitty care.

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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