Proving that stupidity is never far away from rearing its head, Ranil Jayawardena, Conservative MP for North East Hampshire, asked if the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care will bring forward legislative proposals to ban e-cigarette shops and smoking on NHS hospital property. Jayawardena also wanted to know if the government would bring forward legislative proposals to ban e-cigarettes wherever the smoking ban is in place.
Jo Churchill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, gave him a very full reply: “The Government believes in proportionate regulation of e-cigarettes, recognising that they are not risk-free. Through the European Union Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), transposed into United Kingdom law by the UK Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR), we have introduced measures to regulate e-cigarettes.”
“These measures reduce the risk of harm to children, protect against any risk of renormalisation of tobacco use, provide assurance on relative safety for users, and give businesses legal certainty. This has enabled the UK to implement appropriate standards for products whilst allowing smokers to move to e-cigarettes should they wish.”
“The Government has made a commitment to review the TRPR by May 2021 to consider its regulatory impact. In addition, as announced in the Tobacco Control Plan the Government will review where the UK’s exit from the European Union offers us opportunities to re-appraise current regulation to ensure this continues to protect the nation’s health.”
“The Government has no plans to introduce legislative proposals to ban e-cigarettes, e-cigarette shops or smoking on National Health Service property” - Jo Churchill
“We continue to support the implementation of smokefree policies across all hospitals in England. The Government’s tobacco control plan for England published in July 2017 reiterates our ambition to achieve smokefree mental health services and NHS estate by 2019/20. The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, further supports the creation of a Smokefree NHS with the commitment to offering NHS-funded tobacco treatment services to all patients who smoke.”
Jayawardena continued his warped drive, asking a further question about whether the government has made an assessment of increased nicotine addiction, blood pressure and heart attack rates in light of the boom in vaping.
Churchill told him: “Public Health England (PHE) has published a series of reports on electronic cigarettes including the effects of vaping on health.”
“While nicotine can contribute to raised blood pressure and cardiovascular risk,” she continued, “it is tar and carbon monoxide, which are the major sources of cardiovascular risk in cigarette smoke, producing nicotine vapour from a solution rather than by burning tobacco means that electronic cigarette vapour is free from almost all the toxic chemicals that accompany nicotine in cigarette smoke.”
“The Office for National Statistics has recorded the numbers of people using e-cigarettes since 2014 and the combined number of people using e-cigarettes and smoking has not increased since then. The proportion of people who smoke has decreased substantially in the same period. PHE encourages people who both vape and smoke to stop smoking completely, because this greatly reduces health risks.”
Given that warped views like Jayawardena’s are given free rein in many other countries, it is a relief that the UK’s government is still guided by evidence.
- Public Health England’s series of reports on electronic cigarettes – [link]