2 million years of life

Think tank: Adam Smith Institute

Author(s): Daniel Pryor; Mark Oates

March 31, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at how safer smoking alternatives can level up health and tackle the cost of living crisis.

This paper argues that the Government can reduce health inequality and boost incomes by accelerating the adoption of safer smoking alternatives. By accelerating the adoption of safer smoking alternatives among smokers, the Government can level up health and boost disposable incomes in the midst of a cost of living crisis, E-cigarettes and other smoking alternatives are significantly safer than cigarettes and have played a key role in accelerating the decline in the UK’s smoking rate, Despite their success to date, smokers’ perceptions of the relative risk of these products remain wildly inaccurate due to outdated communication rules and negative media stories, Awareness among smokers of other reduced-risk products, such as heated tobacco and nicotine pouches, remains at unacceptably low levels, despite their potential to cater for a large population of smokers who have tried vaping but returned to cigarettes, If the smoking rate in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and The Humber was reduced to London’s through smokers switching to vaping, nearly 2 million years of life would be saved, The average smoker in these regions could boost their annual disposable income by upwards of 10% if they switched to a safer alternative, There are a number of policy measure that could help achieve these objectives, such as: Allowing retailers and manufacturers of reduced-risk products to state independent health claims via pre-approved statements; Replacing current restrictions on advertising of low-risk products with sensible controls on content and placement; Including heated tobacco products and nicotine pouches in the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ upcoming annual evidence review on safer alternatives; Legalising the sale of Swedish Snus.