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Question and answers about vaping and tobacco harm reduction from the House of Lords and the House of Commons

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Question and answers about vaping and tobacco harm reduction from the House of Lords and the House of Commons begins with Lord Storey wanting to discourage children. Virendra Sharma wondered about the extent of Trading Standards’ powers. Stella Creasy asked about packaging and Damian Green was all about the money.

Lord Storey, the Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Education asked His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to discourage children and young people from vaping.

Lord Markham, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care told him: “While the Government supports adult smokers switching to vaping in order to quit smoking, we continue to discourage use in children and non-smokers.

“We have introduced a regulatory framework to deter the appeal of vaping to children through restricting product advertising, limits on nicotine strength, labelling and safety requirements and it is illegal to sell vapes to those aged under 18 years old.

“The Department continues to work with the relevant agencies to ensure these regulations are enforced in England.

“We have updated online information and advice on the Better Health and Talk to Frank platform. The Department of Health and Social Care continues to work with the Department of Education to communicate with schools’ policies to prevent children from vaping.”

Virendra Sharma, Labour’s MP representing Ealing, asked the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy what assessment has been made of the adequacy of Trading Standards' powers to regulate the sale of vaping products and tackle illicit vaping tobacco products.

Kevin Hollinrake, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department responded: “Vapes are regulated through the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and the Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015. These regulations have allowed vapes to be available to support smokers quit while limiting access by children and non-smokers. The government continues to work with enforcement agencies to ensure these regulations are enforced in England.”

Hollinrake added: “Suspected illegal activity should be reported in the first instance to the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 (www.citizensadvice.org.uk/).”

Stella Creasy, Walthamstow’s Labour MP, asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what plans the Government has to replace, revoke or retain the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015.

The Minister for Primary Care and Public Health, Neil O'Brien MP told her: “Through the Retained EU Law (Reform and Revocation) Bill, the Government is currently reviewing which retained European Union law should be repealed, reformed or preserved. The Government continues to work with a range of stakeholders to ensure that any such reforms maintain current standards in public health.”

Finally, Ashford’s Damian Green asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much excise duty and VAT the Government collected from the sale of tobacco products in each financial year since 2018-19.

James Cartlidge told the House: “Data regarding receipts for tobacco duty can be found in the publication HMRC tax receipts and National Insurance contributions for the UK. Refer to column Y in the statistics table.

“An extract is provided below showing Tobacco duties since 2018 to 2019. Figures are in £millions.

Financial year    Tobacco Duties (£m)

2018 to 2019     9,290

2019 to 2020     8,804

2020 to 2021     9,964

2021 to 2022     10,278

“With regards to VAT receipts on tobacco products, the information is not available. HMRC does not hold information on VAT revenue from specific products or services, including VAT on tobacco products. This is because businesses are not required to provide figures at a product level within their VAT returns, as this would impose an excessive administrative burden.”

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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