Greater Manchester welcomes Government plans to tackle smoking – Make Smoking History

Skip to main content.
Make Smoking History logo
Start of main content

Greater Manchester welcomes Government plans to tackle smoking

The Department of Health and Social Care announced new plans to support more smokers to quit and reduce youth vaping

Graphic with white backgroud and black text reading 'Make Smoking History'

On Tuesday, 11 April 2023, the Department of Health and Social Care announced new plans to support more smokers to quit and reduce youth vaping based on recommendations from an independent review on smoking, led by Dr Javed Khan, which included interventions that have been successful in Greater Manchester.

Under the new plans, around 1 million smokers will be encouraged to swap cigarettes for vapes under the world’s first national “swap to stop” scheme funded by the government.

Pregnant women will also be offered financial incentives to help them quit as part of a sweeping package of measures to cut smoking rates in England, improve the nation’s health and help cut NHS waiting lists.

Additionally, there will be a crackdown on illicit vape sales as part of measures to stop children and non-smokers from vaping – which is growing in popularity among young people as NHS figures for 2021 showed that 9% of 11 to 15-year-olds used e-cigarettes, up from 6% in 2018.

All of these measures are important steps to making England smokefree by 2030

Sarah Price, Chief Officer for Population & Health Inequalities at NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, said: “Since 2017, Greater Manchester has been on a journey to become a smokefree city region and it’s great to see initiatives that have been successful in Greater Manchester being rolled out nationally as part of these new plans announced yesterday.

“Greater Manchester was one of the first places to pilot ‘Swap to Stop’, a harm reduction initiative that encouraged smokers in Salford to switch to vaping. Evaluation showed the initiative helped 62% of participants stop smoking, and vaping kits are now offered as a quitting aid, alongside nicotine replacement and prescribed medication, in many of Greater Manchester’s stop smoking services.

“Greater Manchester’s model for reducing smoking in pregnancy, which includes specialist support and financial incentives, has also contributed to a significant 25% reduction in the number of women smoking at time of delivery – the benchmark used to measure smoking status at the end of pregnancy – and additional investment can deliver a smokefree start for every baby by 2030.

“We also welcome new plans to support Trading Standards to crack down on illegal sales of vapes and prevent them getting into the hands of children, which is undermining their role as a highly effective stop smoking aid for adult smokers.

“All of these measures are important steps to making England smokefree by 2030 in ways that will tackle inequalities in smoking prevalence and smoking-related harms.

“Other measures in the Khan report remain important. A levy on the tobacco industry to ensure it pays for the harm smoking causes would provide vital additional funding to ensure that reaching our smokefree 2030 goal is possible. Increasing the age of sale for tobacco is another Khan recommendation which both smokers and non-smokers support.

“In the coming months we will be working in partnership with all 10 local authorities and wider partners to refresh our local strategy to make smoking history and transform the health, wealth, and wellbeing of our people.”

As a result of Greater Manchester’s comprehensive approach to make smoking history, smoking rates in Greater Manchester have fallen to an all-time low, with just 15.4% of the adult population classed as smokers. However, smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable illness and death with an estimated 5,700 adults in the city-region dying each year from smoking-related causes.

For free, personalised support to stop smoking across Greater Manchester, visit Local Services or call the NHS Stop Smoking Helpline on 0300 124 1044.