Non-smokers were urged not to take up vaping if they haven’t tried it already, by Hackney’s health boss.
Cllr Chris Kennedy who is the Cabinet member for health said: “The message to our smokers is to try vaping. It’s a great quit aid. If you don’t smoke, don’t vape.”
Smoking is estimated to cost Hackney £100m a year in health services, council, and fire service expenditure, along with lost productivity because to smoking-related ill-health. The high cost of cigarettes and health impacts are estimated to have helped push 3,000 Hackney households each year into poverty.
It is thought that 30,000 adults smoke in Hackney, but the numbers of people lighting up dropped since the current smoking cessation service started.
Cllr Kennedy’s comments come after the Department of Health recently unveiled plans of a “swap to stop” scheme to encourage one million smokers nationally through e-cigarettes or vapes.
No details have been released yet but Hackney could get £500,000 for the scheme and financial incentives to help pregnant smokers quit.
People who use vapes, or e-cigarettes inhale nicotine, rather than smoke it, and the smoke does not include harmful carbon monoxide or tar.
The NHS said they can be a helpful tool in stopping smoking, but many people who have never smoked use them and they are popular with teenagers.
Cllr Caroline Woodley, Cabinet member for families, early years and play highlighted environmental concerns about the use of vapes which cannot be recycled and are a fire risk because of their batteries.
The Cabinet procurement committee agreed to commission a £5m redesigned service, bringing some of it in-house, saving £124,000 a year. (Mon 4 Sept).
Hackney offers smoking cessation for residents and office workers in the neighbouring City of London too, which is currently contributing £91,000 a year for this service. This is likely to drop to £50,000 annually and £250,000 over five years.
The new contract will look at tailoring the service to City workers as it is estimated many them smoke but have a low take up of support to quit.
It has a target of helping 1,600, or five per cent, of the borough’s smokers to stub out smoking each year, with a least half still smoke-free after a month.
Quit rates of people who have stubbed out the smoking habit after a month are higher than the national average of 35 per cent.
However, the council said there are gaps in the current service’s reach with concern that more could be done to help Turkish and Kurdish smokers and people in routine and manual jobs.