Politics & Campaigns


Latest vape and tobacco harm reduction related activity from the House of Commons and the House of Lords

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This week’s coverage sees a number of questions from vaping supporter Adam Afriyie MP to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in the Commons. As usual, the responses come from his Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State. In the other House, Lord Faulkner of Worcester successfully won a vote regretting the Government’s failure to ban smoking and vaping from beer gardens, and outdoor seating areas at cafes and restaurants.

Afriyie, the Conservative representative for Windsor, asked:

  1. Whether the Government will be represented at the next meeting of the Global Tobacco Regulators Forum?
  2. What information his Department holds on whether records of previous Global Tobacco Regulators Forums meetings which UK representatives have attended (a) exist and (b) are publicly available?
  3. What steps the Government is taking to encourage other Parties at the forthcoming Global Tobacco Regulators Forums meeting to adopt harm reduction based alternatives to tobacco?
  4. What oversight the Government has over its representatives at the Global Tobacco Regulators Forum meetings? And,
  5. Whether the Government plans to tackle potential misinformation on e-cigarettes at the Global Tobacco Regulators Forum meeting?

Jo Churchill responded: “The Fifth meeting of Global Tobacco Regulators Forum (GTRF) took place virtually from 7 to 9 July. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) No Tobacco Unit in the Health Promotion Department hosts the GTRF meetings. Papers for the meetings are not publicly available from the WHO.

“Officials from the Department’s tobacco control policy team attended to represent the United Kingdom as leads and experts in tobacco control policy. This year’s meeting was attended by civil servants from the Tobacco Control team. Officials will report back to senior officials and Ministers with any key outcomes. The Department holds notes on previous GTRF forums.

“Officials updated the GTRF on the UK’s tobacco control work and evidence-based position on harm reduction alternatives to tobacco, such as e-cigarettes. We also presented global evidence about harm reduction alternatives, and tackle any misinformation. We recognise that they play a vital role in helping smokers to quit and we will continue to advocate for their use as part of a comprehensive approach.”

All told, our parliament is doing a better job of following the evidence and being transparent than The World Health Organization when it comes to vaping and electronic cigarettes.

Shamefully, this approach isn’t being adopted across the whole of Parliament.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester spoke (1) about how a poll by YouGov for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), of over 10,000 adults, found that two-thirds wanted a ban in place to prevent people from smoking or vaping in beer gardens.

The Government has missed the opportunity to take a sensible step towards a smokefree country. I hope they will take the chance to put this right in the future,” he said.


  1. House of Lords debate and vote - https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2021-07-14/debates/1EDB9469-70E3-4A32-A8E6-1A41FE64E443/BusinessAndPlanningAct2020(PavementLicences)(Coronavirus)(Amendment)Regulations2021
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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