It doesn’t take long to realize that vaping is handled very differently depending on where you live. Legislators around the world have worked over the last ten-plus years to lay out the regulatory framework for this brand new industry. The end result has been a massive discrepancy between vaping laws in different countries, or even states. For example, Australia has long been very strict about vaping, all but banning them outright. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has proven to be the leading voice in vaping rights, studying them thoroughly and choosing to incorporate them into their smoking cessation programs. According to reports, the UK will once again lead the charge, as some food banks are set to provide e-cigarettes to smokers in need.
Reactions to the news have been overwhelmingly positive from the vaping community, with many praising the administrators for providing a massive boost to not only smokers looking to quit, but especially those struggling to pay for basic necessities. At the same time, anti-vapers have blasted the decision for sending the wrong message to teens about the dangers of vaping. Regardless, most analysts agree this exciting program will be seen in some form or fashion; However, some remain worried, as it’s not set in stone just yet.
The plans were first officially discussed during a meeting of the Hertfordshire County Council’s Public Health and Prevention Panel back on May 9th. Jim McManus, the Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council, gave a brief overview of their proposed plan to provide e-cigarettes to those who need them most. He referenced a widening gap in adverse smoking-related health outcomes between working-class groups and middle-class groups as a primary driver of the plan. In fact, according to McManus, only 12.7% of their overall population smokes, while the rate is doubled when looking at working-class demographics.
The proposed plan would offer a free e-cigarette starter kit to smokers at Hertfordshire food banks. They estimate that for a pack-a-day smoker, making the switch can save around £70 a week, while simultaneously significantly reducing your exposure to dangerous chemicals. If passed, the plan would be fully designed, run, and evaluated by a research team from a respected UK university. Mr. McManus is quite optimistic the program, called the Hertfordshire Tobacco Control Strategic Plan 2019-22, will be up and running by the end of this year in several food banks across the county.
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