…And Will The Last Smoker In Britain Please Empty The Ashtray!

The UK Government has slashed £41million in funding to NHS Stop Smoking Services however thanks to the rise in use of e-cigarettes it’s forecast the last fag in Britain will be stubbed out in 2050!

BTW there’s no truth in the rumour the last SMOK pod kit and TFV series of tanks will be released the same year…couldn’t resist sorry lol…OK back to the story…

e-cigarette breaks tobacco cigarette, isolated on white backgrou

According to the Office of National Statistics and Public Health England the UK currently has over 6 million fewer smokers [and rising] this despite national and local government cut backs.

A new study from Cancer Research UK and ASH titled A CHANGING LANDSCAPE shows that as the number of smokers has dropped significantly – so has the funding for key NHS services. This says the study is putting ‘die hard’ smokers lives at risk and in particular those from poorer economic backgrounds and pregnant women finding it hard to quit.

The research shows the numbers don’t lie:


Between 2014/15 and 2017/18 local authority spending on tobacco control and stop smoking services in England fell by £41.3million (30%). Spending per resident smoker fell from £17.87 to £14.86.

The writing’s been on the wall for quite some time as I showed in the article: Smokers Turning Their Backs on NHS Stop Smoking Clinics. The study recognizes this and urges clinics that are not using e-cigarettes as a quit tool should consider doing so as soon as possible, especially as their use varies across the UK:


All surveyed stop smoking services supported smokers who choose to use e-cigarettes. However, attitudes and practice vary.

Most services only provide advice about the use of e-cigarettes but some include them in their offer to smokers, for example through free starter kits.

Those clinics not fully embracing e-cigarettes as harm reduction tools were still relying on ‘counseling’ and medication to help smokers quit. Those meds being our old friend and suicide inducing Champix paired up with patches or gums. This duo was by far the preferred method of ‘treatment’ for those looking to quit the cancer sticks…a case of replacing something that doesn’t work [nicotine patches and gums] and a pill that has severe side effects.

Time For the NHS To Think Outside The Scary Warnings Box

With cash being cut to these services it really is time for the clinic managers to start thinking outside the box…literally.

Trial schemes such as the Hampshire based Quit 4 Life gave smokers looking to quit £25 NHS vouchers they were able to spend in local vape shops. There rather than a generic kit from God knows where they were able to chat with knowledgeable vape staff and choose the kit and e-liquid nicotine strength right for them. This of course kept the cash local making everyone – especially the smokers – happy.

A similar scheme was recently launched in Trafford Manchester. However in this case the clinic cut out the vape shop and sent smokers to one of 6 chemists and were all given the same set-up. My understanding is UK chemists only stock starter kits made by Big Tobacco companies such as NicoCig and Vype…none of which are that good if I’m brutally honest. Plus the cash is going straight to the corporations rather than the local business.

nhs stop smoking servce funding cut

As I showed in the article: Could Vape Shops Team Up With the NHS and Should They? – the staff in these establishments have – by and large – a greater knowledge of vape starter kits and e-liquids than any well meaning and ‘trained’ NHS employee.

I think local authorities really should tap into the fountain of knowledge that vape shop staff have and work closely with them. And for sure all NHS staff and not just those in Stop Smoking clinics really should complete the excellent online ‘course: E-cigarettes: a guide for healthcare professionals. And that course should be mandatory for those working in oncology given it was recently revealed a staggering third of all cancer specialists in the UK were ‘unclear’ about the benefits of e-cigarettes!

At the time that report baffled Public Health England tobacco specialist Mart Dockrell who said:

E-cigarettes aren’t risk free but they are far less harmful than tobacco and it’s important for healthcare professionals to talk to patients about this.

That’s why as part of our NHS Smokefree campaign, we’re encouraging professionals to take free, online courses offered by the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training.

The question is do we even need NHS Stop Smoking Services? I’m not sure we do in the future – but for now it’s what we have and if they are to survive – especially as funding is continually being slashed – then they need to adapt or die it’s that simple.

And The Last Cigarette To Be Smoked In the UK Will Be…

There’s around 7 million smokers in the UK however it’s our old friends Phillip Morris Inc – those Marlboro and IQOS men who reckon we’ll be completely smoke-free in a little under 30 years.

The research might be a little under a year old – but it has popped up in a raft of UK media stories and pinpoints Derby as being the last town standing for smokers!

PMI researchers also reckon Bristol will be the first city to go completely smoke-free [2024] whilst York will quickly follow in 2026. All the facts and figures are published on the PMI funded website Last Smoke and you can pop your postcode in to find out when your town or city quits.

Mine comes out as 2031..bad news for ‘Dodgy Dave’ who pops into pubs in town selling baccy ‘brought back’ from his ‘holidays’…that bloke always seems to be on his hollies lol. I shall have to tell him to consider moving to Derby in the none to distant future…

last smoke

So is it all a bit of a publicity stunt to promote PMI’s vision of stopping the manufacture of their lit tobacco and promoting the IQOS brand? Probably…it’s certainly made a splash across the national newspapers and got me writing about it…

Mark MacGregor, UK Corporate Affairs Director of PML said:

Our business is committed to going smoke free as fast as possible and ultimately stopping selling cigarettes altogether. What this research reveals is the huge variations in the decline in smoking in different parts of the country.

We want to play our part in working with local businesses, retailers and councils in the areas with highest smoking rates. It is not going to be easy getting smokers in these areas to stop.

One of the keys to success will be ensuring they understand that there are more alternative options than ever that can help them give up cigarettes for good.

Nice words…but as always it’s actions that speak louder…

IMHO I doubt any country will ever be completely smoke free…but then I am a cynical old sod…

Now will the last smoker in the UK please empty that ashtray…it bloody stinks!

Read the CRUK and ASH Report

Neil Humber
I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.

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