Toggle mobile menu visibility

Smokers urged to switch to vaping as part of Public Health measures to cut tobacco use

Norfolk County Council, 12 January 2024 14:11

County councillors are to be asked to endorse proposals that would continue to see vaping promoted as an alternative to smoking, amid concerns that public perception is putting people off vaping as a tool to quit smoking.

Members of Norfolk County Council's People and Communities Select Committee will meet on 19 January, where they will hear an update on the council's approach to vaping - including an emphasis on promoting vapes for smokers but discouraging vaping in those that do not smoke.

They will be asked to endorse proposals, created in partnership with the Norfolk Tobacco Control and Vaping Alliance, which support Norfolk residents to achieve 'healthy, fulfilling, and independent lives' by reducing preventable illness and deaths from smoking tobacco.

Cllr Fran Whymark, Chair of the People and Communities Select Committee, said: "We know that in Norfolk and Waveney, smoking causes over 10,000 hospital admissions and over 1,200 deaths annually in individuals over the age of 35. We want people to move to vaping as a way of becoming smoke free because it is substantially less harmful than smoking. However, that doesn't mean it comes without risk because the nicotine which is found in vapes is also addictive. We want to make sure that those who have never smoked, particularly young people, do not start vaping in the first place.

"This is an important issue to bring to committee, as it covers so many areas of the council's work. It is vital that we use the evidence available to protect our residents' health."

The proposals include continuing to promote swapping smoking for vaping as a positive health move for existing smokers, as well as will continuing to provide e-cigarettes as part of the Public Health stop smoking service.

Public Health will continue to work with partners in the Norfolk Tobacco Control and Vaping Alliance to oversee the strategy and vaping delivery plan.

Progressing through working groups and influencing decision makers, as well as working with Childrens' Services and other representative organisations, it will develop and implement effective approaches to reduce the prevalence of smoking and vaping.

By listening to young people's voices through consultation, it will also seek to stop the upward trend among young people starting vaping who have never smoked.

Public Health will also work with colleagues in Trading Standards to highlight the risks associated with illegal vapes, to support them in their efforts to enforce tobacco control legislation and to work with responsible and reputable retailers.

A report to members highlights that public misunderstanding about vaping may result in smokers who swapped to vapes relapsing to smoking.  

Vaping is considered less harmful than smoking and people use it as one way of quitting harmful tobacco. At the same time because the impact of vaping on your health is not fully understood, the Council is taking measures to help prevent non-smokers from taking up vaping and to prevent the illegal sale of vapes to children and young people.

The County Council recently developed a vaping toolkit for schools, providing high quality self-serve guidance and resources to help schools implement a whole-school approach to addressing the increasing challenge around vaping.

In Great Britain in 2022, an Opinions and Lifestyle Survey from the Office for National Statistics (OPN) showed that 5.2% of those surveyed aged 16 and over reported being current daily users of an e-cigarette. This is around 40,000 (5.2%) adults in Norfolk using e-cigarettes daily, up from 37,700 (4.9%) in 2021.

Norfolk County Council's People and Communities Select Committee will consider the report when it meets at 10am on Friday, 19 January. You can watch the meeting, live or afterwards, and read the reports online.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 13:19

Share this page

Facebook icon Twitter icon Email icon


Print icon