The United Kingdom is already at the forefront of global efforts to stub out smoking by urging smokers to use electronic cigarettes instead. Now, the nation is considering placing vaping adverts (Vape Ads) on cigarette packs to try and wean people off their unhealthy tobacco addiction. Yep. You heard that correctly … vape ads on cigarette packs.
In recent years, Britain has heaped increasing levels of taxation on cigarettes, mandated plain packaging that carries severe health warnings and gruesome pictures of what happens to the lungs and other vital body parts of smokers. It has also ordered that all tobacco products be placed in non-descript, locker-style cabinets at points of sale so people — especially the youth — won’t be tempted to buy.
Yet, the harsh measures have done little to dent the number of smokers in the UK, which currently stands at around 9 million, in a four-nation country of 65.5 million. But the figure is starting to fall off, thanks in large part to the uptake of vaping over smoking — giving smokers the nicotine they crave but none of the many thousands of harmful chemicals found in burning tobacco. Today in Britain, some 3 million people regularly vape, with many getting their supplies from a quality online vape store.
Earlier this year, a government agency, Public Health England, pointed out that many smokers are simply not aware of the health benefits of switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, or that they had the wrong information.
It said that “many thousands of smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking; around 40% of smokers have not even tried an e-cigarette” and that “there is much public misunderstanding about nicotine (less than 10% of adults understand that most of the harms to health from smoking are not caused by nicotine).” The public health body estimated that if more smokers made the change to vaping, it could result in “at least 20,00 successful new quits per year and possibly many more.”
Now the UK government is thinking about putting the message right before smokers’ eyes — in vape ads on their cigarette packs. A proposal to do just that has been put forward by lawmaker Stephen Metcalfe, at a parliament committee meetingon e-cigarettes. The government official responsible for implementing such a measure, Pharmacy Minister Steve Brine, said it was “an interesting point” and one he wanted to “think about”. “In a time of tight resource it’s a very direct message,” he said.
Britain, like many other nations, is aiming to become smoke free, and has set out an ambitious program to achieve its aim by 2022. Recognising that not everyone will give up smoking, it wants to cut the number of teens who smoke from 8% to 3% or less; slash smoking among adults from 15.5% to 12% or lower; and reduce smoking in pregnancy from 10.5% to 6% or less. The government says it also wants to cut “the inequality gap in smoking prevalence, between those in routine and manual occupations and the general population.”
Recent Vaping Promotions
Last month, the vaping industry in Britain, said to be worth around £1 billion currently, held its first vaping awareness and education campaign. Called VApril, it was fronted by one of the UK’s most popular TV doctors and provided free information and advice about using e-cigarettes and now to make the transition from smoking to vaping.
The country’s health service, which is free to all citizens, has already thrown its own hefty weight behind vaping. During its annual Stoptober campaign last October, it advised people that e-cigarettes were among the most effective smoking-cessation methods and that smokers should try vaping to get off tobacco and become healthier. Smoking kills around 100,000 people annually in the UK, including those who inhale secondhand smoke.
All this comes amid a raft of studies about vaping from top-level medical institutions in the UK, including the prestigious Royal College of Physicians. It found that e-cigarettes are virtually harmless compared to smoking and that
they should be “widely promoted” as a way to get people to stop smoking for good. Vape Ads on packs of cigarettes? Sounds good to us!