‘Minister for Vaping’ Resigns

Posted 27th March 2019 by Dave Cross
Steve Brine has resigned as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health and Primary Care). He spent almost two years in the role and proved himself to be an excellent, knowledgeable advocate of vaping and tobacco harm reduction. The government has not announced his replacement as yet.

Steve Brine, Spurs fan and MP for Winchester, handed in his resignation to the Prime Minister on Monday. He said: “Last night I took the difficult decision to step down from my position in Government after almost three years.”

In his letter, Brine spoke about the reasons for his decision and spoke passionately about how well run the department is: “As we discussed at length, I feel so passionate that leaving without a withdrawal agreement (commonly referred to as a ‘deal’) is not acceptable to me or in the national interest. I know the vast majority of my constituents in Winchester share that view.”

“My view on ‘no deal’ has formed as a result of countless public statements from business, public services, security services and testimony from a wide range of my own constituents. That is in addition to almost three years working inside Government as a Minister, including the last 20 months at the Department for Health. I want to pay tribute to the highly competent and professional team at DH, led by your outstanding Secretary of State Matt Hancock, who have done everything they can to ensure medicines and medical supplies will be protected for patients whatever form our exit from the EU takes. Health is without question the best prepared department in Whitehall and the team deserve credit for that.”

“Thank you for giving me the chance to serve as Public Health Minister; it is a role I have cherished and enjoyed. I will carry on some of that work from the backbenches.”

“E-cigarettes are substantially less harmful than smoking. E-cigarettes can help smokers to quit” – Steve Brine

Steve Brine’s period in charge saw him lend unequivocal support to the position taken by Public Health England and he championed measures to support the adoption of vaping throughout the NHS – and beyond.

He supported the work carried out by the New Nicotine Alliance and the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, encouraging businesses and organisations to give serious consideration to allow vaping indoors in order to combat tobacco related harm.

Brine was well informed and frequently used this knowledge to knock back objections to vaping. He frequently repeated the truth in his responses to ministerial questions: “The evidence is increasingly clear that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco, and can help smokers to quit, particularly when combined with stop smoking services.”

Steve Brine understood the importance of flavours and the need to revisit the restrictions the Tobacco Products Directive placed on vape products, especially the cap on nicotine content and the limit applied to tank sizes.

Vapers can but hope the government appoints someone with the same level of aptitude, commitment and perspicacity to the role as Steve Brine’s replacement.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker