Smoking and vaping: NHS shows difference between the two
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Brexit has put Britain into a position where it is the world leader in saving millions of lives around the world and tackling poverty, Tory MP Adam Afriyie has claimed. The MP Windsor was speaking at the GNTF conference in Washington DC promoting the UK’s unique public health position of moving smokers from traditional products to e-cigarettes including vaping.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Afriyie, vice chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Vaping, said that he believes Britain will be “smokeless” in less than a decade by 2030.
This means that less than five percent of the population smoke traditional combustible cigarettes or other products like pipes and cigars.
He said that the change to vaping will help end poverty for thousands of families in the UK.
“We are concerned about poverty and levelling up, if people adopted vaping we would lift 2 million children out of poverty from the money saved.
“If somebody is buying a box of fags a day it will cost £70 a week approximately, if you vape it will cost £3 a week.
“Suddenly then for a smoker smoking a box of cigarettes a day, it takes £5,000 a year from their earnings with vaping it is £200 or £300 a year.
“It is all part of levelling up.”
Mr Afriyie said that the UK with its new Health Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey now needs to use its recently won independence through Brexit to influence the debate on smoking in the world.
He was very critical of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which has given awards to countries like India with tens of millions of smokers for banning vaping.
The EU has followed a similar policy but now the UK can continue to develop its own regulations it no longer has to align with Brussels.
Currently, Britain is the biggest donor to the WHO program to end smoking around the world with an annual payment of £38 million and Mr Afriyie has called for it to use its influence.
He said: “It seems to me with our newfound independence and our successful regulatory approach it would be entirely appropriate for us to take the lead in the smoking and harm reduction forums.
“I think if we are making a significant contribution then we should certainly have a significant say in the direction of travel.
“I think the position Brexit has put us in has given us self determination and we have no need to agree to a common framework with the EU.
“We can lead the way in showing that we should not confuse burning tobacco with nicotine replacement alternatives.
“We no longer have to follow EU directives.”
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The veteran MP warned that the stakes on the issue are high with smoking claiming millions of lives around the world each year.
In the UK around 75,000 a year die from smoking-related diseases.
He said: “We are talking about tens of millions of lives.
“I understand some of the worries about big tobacco but with millions of people dying worldwide, we have to embrace the concept of relative harm and harm reduction.
“It seems to me that for the first time in our history with the tobacco industry our objectives are aligned, and we need to take advantage of that so resources are poured in to save lives.”
He added: “I also have concerns over who is funding the anti-vaping movement. That needs to be looked into because we cannot have a handful of wealthy people and institutions in effect contributing to the death of millions of people by slowing down the adoption of what is clearly a lifesaving alternative.”
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