Officials hope it will help smokers with the cost of living crisis
Pregnant mums will be handed free vapes by a South London council to stop them spending money on cigarettes.
Lambeth Council estimates the scheme will save parents £2,000 a year – money they would otherwise squander on tobacco.
Smokers who are pregnant or care for young kids will be handed electronic cigarette products as part of the council’s stop smoking service. Officials at the Labour-run council hope the plan will improve people’s health and help them with the rocketing cost of living.
More than 3,000 Lambeth families – many with kids – fall into poverty each year due to their smoking habits, according to council estimates. Cllr Ben Kind revealed details of the scheme in a written response to a question from Cllr Issa Issa about what the council was doing to tackle child and family poverty in the borough.
Cllr Kind, cabinet member for children and young people, wrote: “The council is soon to start providing free vape products, as part of the stop smoking service, to smokers who are pregnant and/or are carers of young children.
“This is aimed at improving the health of the family and saving money in the process of approximately £2,000 per year per family. It is estimated that over 3,000 households in Lambeth fall under the poverty line due to smoking and many of these households include children.”
Electronic cigarettes work by heating up a liquid containing tobacco in order to create a vapour which the user inhales. The liquid is often flavoured to give it a sweet taste.
A King’s College study published in September found that “vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking.” According to the NHS website: “A 2021 review found people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking, as well as having expert face-to-face support, can be up to twice as likely to succeed as people who used other nicotine replacement products, such as patches or gum.”
Despite this, concerns have been raised about increasing numbers of children and teenagers vaping. NHS Digital data published in September revealed 9 per cent of 11 to 15 year olds used electronic cigarettes.
Cllr Ben Kind also revealed the council would continue to hand out £20 vouchers to families of kids on free school meals during school holidays, until the end of the February 2023 half-term.
He added that the council had spent nearly £200,000 on the refurbishment of a disused kitchen on Brixton Road. Community groups will prepare meals at the kitchen for residents struggling to pay for food.
Robert Firth – My London – 2022-10-20.