Pregnant women in south London to be given free vapes by council

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A south London council will hand pregnant women free vapes as part of a new anti-smoking campaign.

Lambeth Council hopes its “stop smoking” drive will save mothers-to-be £2,000 a year – money it claims would otherwise be spent on maintaining tobacco habits.

Despite little research having been done into the safety of e-cigarettes during pregnancy, the local authority say they can help women quit smoking – which it claims causes thousands fall into poverty – for good.

A council spokesperson said: “Smoking during pregnancy is the leading risk factor for poor birth outcomes, including stillbirth, miscarriage and pre-term birth.

“Data shows that women from low income households are much more likely to smoke in pregnancy.

“We are now planning to support the use of e-cigarettes for women who choose that route as their preferred aid for quitting tobacco, since this is less harmful compared to smoking.

“We recognise that while it is best for pregnant smokers to stop smoking without continuing to use nicotine, if this is difficult, and if they choose to use e-cigarettes it can help them become smoke-free.”

The details of the scheme were first unveiled by councillor Ben Kind, and reported by the BBC, in response to question from his fellow councillor Issa Issa regarding the council’s plans to tackle child and family poverty in Lambeth.

The cabinet member for children and young people responded by saying: “The council is soon to start providing free vape products, as part of the stop smoking service, to smokers who are pregnant and/or are carers of young children.

“This is aimed at improving the health of the family and saving money in the process of approximately £2,000 per year per family. It is estimated that over 3,000 households in Lambeth fall under the poverty line due to smoking and many of these households include children.”

It follows a study published by King’s College in September which found that “vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking.”

The NHS website notes, however, that there has been little study into the safety of vaping during pregnancy.

“It is not known whether the vapour is harmful to a baby in pregnancy,” it reads.

“If you’re pregnant, licensed NRT products such as patches and gum are the recommended option to help you stop smoking.”

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