Ban smoking in favour of vaping Britons say in exclusive new poll

Techne’s Michela Morizzo reveals latest findings from polling

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With the UK Government leading the way internationally in encouraging vaping and e-cigarette alternatives as a means of quitting smoking a poll suggests that public opinion is swinging against traditional cigarettes. It means that people like Johnny Depp, pictured smoking a traditional cigarette outside court recently, would have to use safer alternatives when smoking in the UK.

The Techne UK poll for Express.co.uk revealed that 54 percent believe traditional lighting up of a cigarette should be banned.

It comes as the Government has postponed the publication of a report into how to make Britain smoke Free by 2030.

The report was due to come out on Wednesday but has now been put back.

But pressure is mounting on the Government to reconsider smoking policy because of public health issues.

The poll showed that women were more anti-cigarettes with 59 percent wanting them banned compared to 49 percent of men.

Surprisingly, there is more than 50 percent support for a ban in all age groups and economic categories.

But with 14 percent of the population as smokers and 30 percent overall opposing a ban on traditional cigarettes, many non-smokers oppose the infringement on individual choice.

The policy was tried in South Africa for five months between 27 March and 17 August 2020 and was described as “a disaster”.

It cost the South African government hundreds of million in lost revenue and has seen a massive increase in smuggling and illicit trade which has continued even after the ban was lifted.

Anti-smoking groups have backed the Government’s push to move people on to e-cigarettes and vaping but consumer groups have warned against a ban.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ rights group Forest, said: “Millions of adults enjoy smoking and don’t want to switch. Many have tried vaping and they prefer cigarettes to e-cigarettes. That’s their choice and it must be respected. 

“Banning cigarettes in favour of reduced risk products isn’t the way forward. Prohibition never works and it would simply drive more smokers to the black market and fuel illicit trade.

“It could also lead to huge resentment and a significant backlash against e-cigarettes from confirmed smokers who may feel they are being bullied and forced to switch against their will.”

He added: ““If smokers quit cigarettes in favour of smoke free products it has to be through choice not prohibition or coercion.”

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However, scientist Dr Nveed Chaudhary, who previously worked for tobacco industry giants has backed a ban.

He said: “Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the world that kills thousands of people a year.

“Banning cigarettes tomorrow would force smokers to use e-cigarettes which will end up saving many, many lives.”

According to anti-smoking campaign group ASH, the annual cost of smoking to the British economy is around £17.4billion.

This includes £2.5billion spent on health problems caused by smoking by the NHS, £13.2billion losses in productivity from illness, and 1.2 billion in social care costs but around £10.3billion is raised in tobacco duty revenue from traditional cigarettes each year.

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