Politics & Campaigns


Coverage of recent discussion regarding vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Parliament

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Liz Saville Roberts on a no-smoking policy for Immigration Removal Centres. Rory Stewart failed to support tobacco harm reduction in his reply. Virendra Sharma wanted to know what reviews are planned looking at HNB products. Gareth Johnson is concerned about getting more smokers to switch to vaping.

Liz Saville Roberts asked the Secretary of State for Justice when the Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) no-smoking policy will be extended to cover Immigration Removal Centres. The prison service has embraced the potential for vaping to deliver reduced exposure to tobacco-related harm.

Rory Stewart, the Secretary of State for Justice, replied: “Since 2007 we have been acting to reduce the exposure of staff and prisoners to the harmful effects of second hand smoke in all prisons controlled by the Ministry of Justice. Immigration Removal Centres – including the one (Morton Hall) operated by HMPPS - are managed under Home Office rules and therefore the HMPPS Smoke Free Policy Framework does not apply.”

“However, the Home Office had agreed that Morton Hall would adopt the same smoke free process as Ministry of Justice operated open prisons, whereby detainees are able to smoke in the open air in designated smoking areas and are not allowed to smoke inside any building.”

No mention of vaping.

Virendra Sharma addressed Steve Brine on the topic of heat-not-burn. She asked whether Public Health England (PHE) has plans to carry out an academic review of heated tobacco products.

Brine, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, responded: “Under the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan for England, PHE is committed to conducting an annual review of the evidence on e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery systems until the end of the Parliament in 2022.”

“The scope of these reviews includes heated tobacco products and PHE published an evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products in February 2018. The Government currently has no plans to conduct a separate review of heated tobacco products outside of the programme.”

Gareth Johnson was interested to find out what plans Steven Brine has to promote vaping products as an effective way for smokers to quit smoking, and what plans he has to encourage smokers to switch to vaping.

Brine replied: “The Government’s Tobacco Control Plan for England commits PHE to include in its quit smoking campaigns messages about e-cigarettes.”

“Since the publication of the Plan in July 2017, PHE’s annual Stoptober campaign has featured e-cigarettes as one of the evidence-based quitting support options for smokers, and the New Year smoking health harms awareness campaign has made clear the reduction in health risk when a smoker switches completely to vaping.”

“PHE encourages all local Stop Smoking Services in England to provide additional support to people who want to use an e-cigarette in their quit attempt to maximise their chance of success. The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, includes a new universal smoking cessation offer for long-term users of specialist mental health services, the option of switching to e-cigarettes while in inpatient settings.”



Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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