Labour’s Alex Norris asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is the Department is going to undertake a review of the tobacco and related product regulations after the transition period and whether tobacco free nicotine pouches and other novel nicotine products are going to be covered in that review. He also asked if the Department was going to ensure that new UK regulations would not be weaker than the current or future EU Tobacco Products Directive.
Jo Churchill, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care, responded: “Our commitment to tough tobacco control will continue post 1 January 2021, and we laid the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 on the 28 September 2020 to reaffirm that commitment.
“Post-transition period, Great Britain will no longer have to comply with the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive and there will be opportunity to consider, in the future, regulatory changes that help people quit smoking and address the harms from tobacco. Any changes to do so will be based on robust evidence and in the interests of public health.
“The Department will be carrying out a post implementation review of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products by 20 May 2021 to see if the regulations have both met their objectives. Part of this review process will involve a public consultation to start before the end of the year for people to submit their views and evidence.”
Action on Smoking and Health is currently pushing for regulations on vaping to be made stricter and for eliquids to come in plain packaging.
Norris also wondered on behalf of a lobbying interest how many times enforcement action has been taken for non-compliance with the requirements of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.
Churchill reminded him, and those behind the question, that enforcement of the Regulations is carried out by local trading standards agencies. She had no numbers to hand.
Labour’s Olivia Blake turned her attention to vaping and COVID-19. She asked the Secretary of State if an assessment has been made of “the potential effect of indoor vaping on the transmission of COVID-19”.
The biologist could have read the research papers or referred to statements by Public Health England (PHE) and harm reduction experts.
Churchill told her: “No specific assessment has been made. Being in close proximity to anyone with COVID-19 infection would carry a risk of passing on that infection regardless of whether they are smoking or vaping.”
The Under-Secretary pointed Blake to the PHE COVID-19 advice for smokers and vapers [link].