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On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, the UK Minister of Health delivered a speech: Actively promoting e-cigarettes to smokers

Recently, Neil O'Brien, the UK Minister of Health, delivered a keynote speech on smoking control, stating that e-cigarettes are a powerful tool for quitting cigarettes. The UK government is developing its huge potential for quitting smoking by distributing e-cigarettes to smokers for free, in order to achieve the national "smoke free" goal by 2030.

Cigarettes pose a heavy health and economic burden to the UK. Data shows that two out of every three British smokers die from smoking. Although cigarettes can bring generous taxes, the economic losses caused by them are even more alarming as smokers are more prone to illness and unemployment than non smokers. In 2022, the UK tobacco tax revenue was £ 11 billion, while the total public expenditure related to cigarettes was £ 21 billion, nearly twice the tax revenue. Cigarettes can bring net economic benefits, but it's just a secular myth, "Neil O'Brien said.

In order to help smokers quit smoking, the British government has decided to promote e-cigarettes. A large amount of research evidence has confirmed that e-cigarettes pose far less harm than cigarettes. High quality evidence from international authoritative medical organizations such as Cochrane suggests that e-cigarettes can be used to quit smoking and have better effects than nicotine replacement therapy.

Electronic cigarettes are not without controversy. Regarding doubts about the potential appeal of e-cigarettes to minors, Neil O'Brien stated that there are indeed some brightly colored, inexpensive, and cartoon patterned disposable e-cigarettes sold to children. Those are illegal products, and the government has formed a dedicated flight team to crack down on them. This is not contradictory to the government's promotion of compliant e-cigarettes to smokers.

Electronic cigarettes are a double-edged sword. We will do our best to prevent minors from coming into contact with electronic cigarettes and actively help adult smokers quit smoking with electronic cigarettes, "he said.

In April 2023, the UK government launched the world's first 'switch to e-cigarettes before quitting' plan, which aims to increase the success rate of smoking cessation by offering free e-cigarettes to smokers. Neil O'Brien introduced that the plan has taken the lead in successfully piloting in impoverished areas with high smoking rates. Next, the government will provide free e-cigarettes and a series of behavioral support to 1 million British smokers.

More and more British smokers are successfully quitting smoking through e-cigarettes. Data shows that just a few weeks after quitting smoking, smokers' lung function levels increase by 10%, and the risk of developing heart diseases and other diseases is significantly reduced. Quitting smoking can also save about 2000 pounds per smoker per year, which means that local consumption levels will be effectively improved in impoverished areas.

Electronic cigarettes can play an important role in helping the government achieve the 2030 smoke-free target, "Neil O'Brien said. Currently, the use of electronic cigarettes is not widespread enough, and more measures need to be taken to encourage adult smokers to switch to electronic cigarettes as soon as possible, because" they quit smoking today and will not appear in their beds next year.

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