Figures show that thousands of people have died from smoking in Dorset as the council looks to reduce the number of smokers in the county.

Dorset Council health experts are encouraging people to swap cigarettes for vapes as part of a campaign that is aiming at making the county smokefree by 2030.

Between 2017 and 2019 there were over 3,000 deaths due to smoking, according to the council. 

It is aiming to reduce the number of people who smoke in the county from 9.1 per cent to five per cent of the population.

A new Swap 2 Stop scheme is being launched to wean people off tobacco by offering them free vaping starter kits to mark No Smoking Day.

The scheme is part of a government-funded programme and encourages adults who smoke to switch from smoking to vaping, which is much less harmful to health.

LiveWell Dorset, Public Health Dorset’s lifestyle behaviour change service, will deliver the programme by offering smokers a voucher for a free vape starter kit from a trusted supplier.

Sam Crowe, director of public health at Dorset Council said: “The health advice on vaping is clear. If you smoke, vaping is much safer, but it isn’t entirely risk-free, so if you don’t smoke, don’t vape.

“Thanks to national funding, we can offer people who smoke the chance to make a positive choice for their health by switching from smoking to vaping, alongside our existing range of stop-smoking services in the county.

“Smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable death in the UK, it kills up to two out of three long-term users and around 64,000 people each year.

“Whilst nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke, the vast majority of which are not present in vapes.”

“People who do switch should eventually look to quit vaping too once they’re sure they won’t return to smoking, which we know poses a far greater risk to health.”

The new scheme sits alongside a range of other stop-smoking services for residents and targeted schemes in healthcare settings across the county.

Smoking is known to cause serious illness including cancer, heart disease, lung disease, stroke and dementia and vaping is being seen as another alternative to the more traditional techniques used to get people to stop smoking.

Heidi Croucher, Dorset’s Treating Tobacco Dependency Programme Manager, adds: “Nicotine has been used safely for decades in nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches and gums, and vaping is another way for smokers to get nicotine without the harm from tobacco smoke.

“It’s also been proven that vaping is a highly effective way to quit smoking, so we’d encourage any adult who smokes to give it a go, even if you’ve tried to quit before."

The Swap 2 Stop support package will also include a series of LiveWell coaching videos, offering flexibility as they can be accessed online anytime, anywhere.

The free vape kit offer is available to all Dorset Council residents who smoke and are aged 18 and over.

Visit for more information, to access a voucher and to get support on your quit journey from LiveWell Dorset.