Smokers Could Be Offered Vapes To Tackle Cigarette Use In Peterborough
Peterborough City Council (PCC) and the region’s Integrated Care Board (ICB) are proposing a one-year pilot program in Peterborough that could offer vapes to smokers as a means of helping them quit cigarettes. The purpose of this trial is to determine whether providing vapes as a structured attempt to give up smoking can improve success rates.
According to a report produced by PCC and ICB, vapes, which contain nicotine but not tar or tobacco, are likely to be less harmful than cigarettes. There is robust evidence suggesting that people who vape are exposed to fewer harmful substances compared to those who smoke. However, it is important to note that long-term evidence about the use of vapes is still limited.
While vapes do contain toxins and carcinogens, the levels are lower than those found in cigarettes. Research has shown that vapes can be effective in helping people quit smoking. Considering this, PCC and ICB recommend applying for funding for the pilot from the central government’s “swap to stop” initiative, highlighting the high rates of smoking in Fenland along with the significant number of homeless individuals in Cambridge City and Peterborough.
The report also emphasizes that vaping should be discouraged among children and teenagers. PCC and ICB propose expanding school-based programs in the region to address smoking and vaping, which are becoming increasingly prevalent among young people.
To ensure the safety of young people, the authorities suggest increasing spot checks on shops that sell vapes and cigarettes. The goal is to crack down on those who sell these products to minors or who do not meet minimum safety requirements.
These proposals come as PCC and other local authorities and health providers in the region discuss ways to reduce smoking rates. While there has been a downward trend in the number of people quitting smoking since 2016/17, the number of smokers in Peterborough has remained relatively stable at around 14 percent. However, Fenland has seen an increase, with smoking rates reaching 29 percent, the highest in the country.
Smoking not only poses health risks but also has a significant economic impact. It costs Peterborough £72.5 million per year, which includes expenses related to health and social care services, as well as lost productivity. Cambridgeshire faces even higher costs, totaling £183.5 million annually.
The recommendations outlined in the report will be discussed by PCC’s health scrutiny committee before any implementation takes place. The aim is to find effective strategies to reduce smoking rates and improve public health in Peterborough and the surrounding region.