Press Release – Free vapes scheme for UK smokers is a lifesaver, says global public health expert

Free vapes scheme for UK smokers is a lifesaver, says global public health expert

A leading public health expert has welcomed the UK government’s decision to give free vapes to one million smokers to help them quit cigarettes.

The “swap to stop” scheme, under which one in five adult smokers in England will get a free vaping starter kit, will play a significant role in saving millions of lives, says Dr Delon Human, president of Health Diplomats and former Health Advisor to three Directors-General of the WHO and to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

“E-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes,” said Dr. Human. “It is far better for English smokers to switch from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes or nicotine pouches than to continue smoking, which is why this decision should be welcomed in the UK and encouraged elsewhere. It could help to save millions of lives.”

The scheme, the first of its kind in the world, is part of the UK government’s efforts to get smoking rates in England below 5 percent by 2030, the level at which a country is officially classified as ‘smoke-free’.

It follows Health Diplomats’ launch of the Smoke Free Sweden movement, advocating that countries adopt similar tobacco harm reduction strategies to Sweden, which is about to become the first country in the world to achieve ‘smoke-free’ status.

Smoke Free Sweden recently published a report, entitled The Swedish Experience: A roadmap for a smoke-free society, showing how 3.5 million lives could be saved in the European Union in the next 10 years if member states followed Sweden’s example. The report can be viewed here

Key to Sweden’s success has been a policy formula which combines tobacco control methods with the acceptance of smoke-free products as less harmful alternatives, such as vapes and nicotine pouches.

“It is great to see the UK following in the footsteps of Sweden by introducing a logical and reasonable approach to tobacco harm reduction,” said Dr. Human. “Too many countries continue to ignore the lifesaving benefits of alternative nicotine products. They should be following the science and offering smokers their best chance of quitting deadly cigarettes.”

Sweden has the lowest smoking rates in the EU. As well as having the lowest percentage of tobacco-related diseases in the EU, the country also has a 41 percent lower incidence of cancer and 38 percent lower cancer death rate than other EU countries. 



Smoke Free Sweden is a campaign which encourages other countries to follow the Swedish model when it comes to Tobacco Harm Reduction. Sweden is about to become the first ‘smoke free’ European country in 2023, with a smoking rate of below 5 percent. This is a huge achievement, and will be 17 years ahead of the 2040 EU target. This can be attributed to Sweden’s open attitude towards alternative products. 

For more information please visit or contact Jessica Perkins: