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More discussion about the government’s approach to vaping and tobacco harm reduction from Westminster

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The latest discussions about the government’s approach to vaping and tobacco harm reduction at Westminster feature Labour’s Bootle MP talking about funding and the Khan Review. Andrew Gwynne MP was thinking about children’s access to vape products, and the SNP’s Martyn Day was concerned about marketing restrictions lapsing.

Bootle’s Peter Dowd asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care how much funding the Department plans to provide to help tackle the sale of illicit vaping products in the upcoming Tobacco Control Plan.

Dr Caroline Johnson, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, told him: “The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.”

There exists the possibility that the answer is because of the current rumours that Thérèse Coffey plans on ditching the Tobacco Control Plan.

Peter Dowd followed this up by asking the Secretary of State what assessment has been made of the potential merits of the Khan review’s proposal to modify advertising rules so vaping products can be promoted as a less harmful product.

Dr Johnson told him a second time: “The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.”

The government does not seem remotely keen to discuss tobacco harm reduction in reference to the Khan Review or the Tobacco Control Plan.

Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care, asked the Secretary of State what the additional measures are the Department is considering to help prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18.

Can you guess Dr Caroline Johnson’s answer?

She replied: “The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.”

Good luck then Martyn Day, the SNP Shadow Spokesperson for Health and Social Care asked whether EU-derived regulations which restrict the marketing and distribution of tobacco and vaping products will be transferred into UK law and not lapse on 31 December 2023.

Take it away Dr Caroline Johnson: “The Government is currently reviewing how the powers provided by the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill can be used, including which retained law should be repealed, reformed or preserved. Any such reforms to tobacco control will not reduce the United Kingdom’s current standards. Maintaining patient safety and public health will remain paramount and the Government continues to work with a range of organisations and stakeholders.”

So, no answers whatsoever.

Given that the entire Department for Health and Social Care faces a possible clear out by the end of the week, it’s possible that any answers may have been facing changes or U-turns anyway.

*edit: Terese Coffey has been replaced as Secretary of State. The new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is Steve Brine, who held the position for two months during July and August.

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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