Politics & Campaigns


Parliament considered how vaping impacts wildlife, changing the law banning under-21 smokers from buying vapes, increasing the price, and doing more promotion of switching

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Parliament heard more questions and answers about vaping and tobacco harm reduction. Our final article from the House of Commons this week hears from South Leicestershire Conservative MP Alberto Costa, Shadow DUP Health Spokesperson Jim Shannon, Dartford’s Conservative MP Gareth Johnson, and Fabian Hamilton, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Alberto Costa asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been conducted of the potential impact of disposables on wildlife.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary Rebecca Pow decided to ignore the question and replied: “We are aware that the use of disposable vaping products has increased substantially in recent years and are considering the implications of this trend on the environment. The Government launched a call for evidence on youth vaping and the environmental impact of disposable vapes on 11 April. This will help us to build our evidence base and consider what future policy interventions might help to mitigate these impacts.”

Jim Shannon asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what assessment has been made of “the potential merits of making it illegal for people under the age of 21 to buy cigarettes and vaping devices”.

Here’s the answer he didn’t receive: “None. There are none merits to banning adult smokers from buying a reduced harm product.”

Here’s the answer Neil O'Brien gave him: “There is no current plan to increase the age of sale of tobacco to 21 years old. Our assessment is that an increase in the age of sale would be a major departure from the policy pursued over recent decades, which has emphasised personal responsibility and help for people to quit.

“On vaping, there are no current plans to increase the age of sale. However, we have recently launched a call for evidence which will help us to further assess options to reduce youth vaping.”

Gareth Johnson asked the Secretary of State for Health whether he is pushing to increase awareness of the health effects of switching from smoking to vaping.

Neil O'Brien told him: “The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking. As shown in the recently published Nicotine Vaping in England Report there is clear evidence that vapes are substantially less harmful to health than smoking.

“Last year, we published a vaping facts webpage that outlines the benefits of smokers switching to vaping.

“On 11 April, the Department announced a new national swap to stop scheme offering a million smokers across England a free vaping starter kit alongside behavioural support. More details will be available in due course.”

Finally, Fabian Hamilton if the Department for Health and Social Care has made an assessment of “the potential merits of an enforced increase in the price of disposable vapes.”

A relief to those who find disposables ideal for quitting smoking, no assessment has been made.

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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