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UK Government advisor backs vaping to achieve smoke-free 2030

UK Government advisor backs vaping to achieve smoke-free 2030

A top advisor to the UK Government has said that without drastic action including the promotion of vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking the country will miss its smoke-free 2030 target by 7 years.

Dr Javed Khan OBE a senior NHS leader and former CEO of the Barnardos children's charity “ was asked to review Britain's progress towards its target of a smoking prevalence of less than 5% by 2030.


Khan's report to the Department of Health makes for critical recommendations:

  • Increase investment - around £125 million in smoke-free 2030 policies should fund accessible stop smoking support; while Khan also recommends implementing a tobacco industry levy in order to raise the money.
  • Increase the age of sale by one year, every year, until tobacco is essentially banned (The current age at which you can buy cigarettes in the UK is 18).
  • Promote vaping as an effective tool to help people stop smoking tobacco.
  • Improve prevention in the NHS by offering smokers advice and support to quit at every interaction they have with the UK's healthcare services.

The report suggests that the Government should encourage smokers to quit for good in part by recommending vaping as an alternative.

This includes ensuring that healthcare professionals provide accurate information on the benefits of switching to smokers at every intervention opportunity.

Khan also recommends that the Government accelerate the path to prescribed vapes, which would allow doctors to provide patients with subsidized medicinal products. The UK government has been trying to do this for over a decade but has yet to succeed in encouraging a medicinal vaping product to market due to the high regulatory barriers.

To counter this, Khan also recommends the provision of free swap to stop kits in deprived communities, while preventing young people's uptake by banning child-friendly cartoon packaging.

In discussing his recommendations, Khan is keen to bust the multitude of myths that circulate about vaping and smoking:

Some will argue that people should be encouraged to quit all forms of nicotine, and while I understand their concern, my priority is to help people quit smoking as quickly, completely, and permanently as possible. That must also be the overriding public health priority.

However, there is lots of confusion, even misinformation, about vaping. The most common relates to its harm. I have spoken to the very best academics and scientists across the country and internationally. They all told me that vaping is far less harmful than smoking.

In cigarettes, we know that it is not the nicotine that kills you but the other thousands of toxic chemicals such as tar and carbon monoxide. Vapes give smokers the nicotine they crave but protect them from the toxins they would inhale from a cigarette.

Of course, the healthiest option is not to vape or smoke at all. And the use of vapes should only be encouraged to quit smoking. 

The report will be formally launched this afternoon, with attending virtually.

Read the full report here: The Khan Review - Making Smoking Obsolete

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