Adult smokers in Kent urged to swap to vapes as part of scheme to make UK smoke-free

Kent County Council (KCC) is receiving £1.9million to help residents who smoke kick the killer habit. Credit: PA Images

Adult smokers in Kent are being urged to swap to vapes instead as part of a scheme to make the UK smoke-free.

Kent County Council (KCC) is receiving £1.9million to help residents who smoke kick the killer habit.

It forms part of the government's £70million 'Stopping the start' funding pot to help the UK become smoke-free by 2030.

Further annual funding to help Kent smokers quit will also follow from the Department of Health and Social Care for an additional four years, between 2025 and 2029.

KCC director of public health Dr Anjan Ghosh, said: "We're excited to receive the biggest local authority grant and looking forward to working with our healthcare partners and others to bolster local services and interventions to help Kent’s remaining 167,000 residents who still smoke to stop.

"This includes rolling out a Swap-to-Stop scheme with Kent Community NHS Foundation Trust to help adult smokers switch from cigarettes to less toxic vapes.

"Vapes are a useful aid to help adult smokers quit but they are not risk free so if you don’t smoke, don’t vape.”

Smoking rates continue to fall nationally and locally.

Less than one-in-nine people (11.6%) now smoke in the county, compared to around one-in-five people (20.2%) in 2011.

However, tobacco is still responsible for over 60,000 deaths in England a year.

It also increases the risk of life-threatening health conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer's, high blood pressure and respiratory disease.

It is also the cause of 27% of all cancer fatalities.

KCC cabinet member for public health Dan Watkins added: "Smoking remains the leading single cause of unavoidable death, disease and disability and disproportionately affects our most vulnerable residents.

"It’s actually so harmful that 85% of smokers and ex-smokers regret ever picking up a cigarette in the first place and struggle to stop because of an addiction they don’t want.

“This additional money will significantly increase our funding available to tackle smoking – enabling us to increase services and support to help people quit. It’s a game-changing investment and will help save lives.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...