Clwyd West’s David Jones asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what plans there are to improve public access to information about e-cigarettes and other reduced-harm alternatives to tobacco products. Jones also queried if The Committee on Toxicity could be asked to commence a toxicological evaluation of the effect of nicotine delivery levels in e-cigarettes.
Jo Churchill, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care told him: “The National Health Service website provides public information on the harms of smoking and advice to help people quit smoking, including information on using e-cigarettes. In addition, central stop smoking campaigns such as Stoptober have supported the use of e-cigarettes as a tool to help smokers quit.
“To support our Smokefree 2030 ambition, the upcoming Tobacco Control Plan will set out a range of measures which will help smokers to quit, including through the use of less harmful products such as e-cigarettes.
“There are no plans to [conduct a toxicological evaluation of nicotine]. The Department and Public Health England previously asked the Committee on Toxicity to review the potential toxicological risks from electronic nicotine delivery systems and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems. This included information on ENDS e-liquids that contain nicotine, concentrations, and nicotine exposure. The CoT’s statement is available here.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health recently recommended raising the age of tobacco sale to adults over 21. The group’s vice chair, Mary Foy MP recently added: “Raising the sale of tobacco to those aged 21 would be very, very welcome news because we know that generally adults don't take up smoking, it's children and young people who start and unfortunately get hooked often for life. Studies show most adults regret ever starting in the first place.”
Action on Smoking and Health’s Deborah Arnott provides the secretariat for the APPG on Smoking and Health. She added her voice to Foy’s, saying that smoking is not a choice, it is an addiction: “Nine out of 10 adult smokers were addicted before they were 20. Of every three young smokers, only one will quit before they die, and up to two-thirds will die prematurely from smoking. Raising the age of sale to 21 will reduce the number of 18-20-year-old smokers by 30%.”