Health chiefs are set to introduce smoking and vaping bans outside schools and in parks in Walkden and Little Hulton amid concerns nicotine addiction rates in Salford are the highest in Greater Manchester.

The move comes as the government is poised to ban single-use vapes after calls from local councils, paediatricians and public waste campaigners, making the selling of disposable devices illegal on health and environmental grounds.

Ministers have concluded that the products are chiefly aimed at children, who then become addicted. Salford’s health and wellbeing board has said it will actively discourage the use of e-cigarettes by children, young people and non-smokers. 

A report said: “E-cigarettes are regulated and are illegal to sell to those under 18 so we will ensure that this is enforced and monitored through regulatory services. We will also introduce smoke and vape-free zones where children and young people are present, for example  in park play areas and at school gates.”

It said that smoking remains the ‘biggest cause of preventable disease and death’. “Smoking disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities,” the report said. “A reduction in smoking prevalence would have a positive impact on all health and wellbeing policies.”

Smoking rates in the region have reduced from 27 per cent of the adult population in 2011 to below 20pc in 2022. “But this still equates to 40,000 smokers in Salford, which is the highest rate in Greater Manchester.”

It went on: “The current evidence says that e-cigarettes are up to 95pc safer than smoking, for a period of one to two years, there is no current evidence in relation to long-term use.

“The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance recommends the use of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes as a safe and effective smoking cessation aid.

“It does not recommend that non-smokers or young people start using e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are currently the most popular quit aid amongst smokers. However, the product market is varied. Public health-supplied products will be sure to meet regulatory requirements.

“E-cigarettes are not completely risk-free, but based on current evidence they have a lower risk than tobacco. The evidence suggests that e-cigarette awareness and experimentation among young people has increased, this issue is being actively tackled.”

The report said smokers in Salford would have access to behavioural support and quit aids to help them quit tobacco smoking completely. 

It added: “E-cigarettes form part of our smoking cessation offer and can be supplied by our Specialist Stop Smoking Service, with e-liquids offered for free for up to 12 weeks. Everyone issued with an e-cigarette through this service will be supported to quit vaping within 12 months.”