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Parliament

Questions and answers about vaping and tobacco harm reduction from the UK’s House of Commons

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Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care, has posed a series of questions to the government regarding vaping, smoking cessation and SmokeFree 2030. Meanwhile LibDem Wera Hobhouse has asked a question about disposable vapes.

Andrew Gwynne MP asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care whether she will take additional steps to prevent shops and other licensed sellers from selling e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care Dr Caroline Johnson replied: “The Department provides central funding to local authorities to support local trading standards activity to enforce these regulations. It is for local authorities to decide how this funding is allocated across local services, including how to address the underage sale of e-cigarettes. The Department provides advice to small businesses via the online Business Companion site, which includes advice on compliance with age of sale requirements.

“However, we are exploring which additional measures could be introduced to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 years old.”

Following up, Gwynne asked if an assessment has been made of the adequacy of the current vaping and e-cigarette packaging regulations.

Dr Johnson responded: “The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 set out restrictions on packaging, product standards, advertising, and enforcement. We are exploring whether any additional measures could be introduced to prevent children from vaping, including restrictions related to vaping and e-cigarette packaging.”

So, two answers showing the UK Government is seriously considering amending current vape legislation but no clear indication of how this might look.

The Labour MP for Denton and Reddish then asked what steps are planned to improve access to smoking cessation services.

Caroline Johnson told him: “Through the Public Health Grant, we are supporting stop smoking services and ensuring that individual smokers have the best chance of quitting. Local authorities are responsible for providing stop smoking services and are best placed to make decisions about improving access to local services.”

Local services have been complaining about drastic cuts to their funding over the last few years and the latest mood music from Liz Truss’ cabinet suggests there will be more budget cuts on the way. Dr Johnson didn’t explain how that circle will be squared.

Finally, Gwynne asked if the Department for Health and Social Care are still pursuing the policy for England to be smokefree by 2030.

Dr Caroline Johnson stated that the Department and the Government “remain committed to making England smoke-free by 2030” but (again) didn’t explain how this will be achieved through further cuts to funding and services.

Wera Hobhouse, Bath’s LibDem MP asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the environmental impact of single-use, disposable e-cigarettes.

Trudy Harrison, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told her: “Defra has made no assessment of the environmental impact of single-use, disposable e-cigarettes.”

With three million+ being thrown into UK bins each week, maybe it’s time they did?

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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