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The week continues with a flood of political coverage – today’s article is dominated by a series of questions from Rachael Maskell MP

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The week continues with a flood of political coverage – today’s article is dominated by a series of questions from Rachael Maskell MP, the Labour/Co-operative representative for York Central, and the queries to the Department for Health and Social Care give a good indication of future Labour priorities for vaping.

Rachael Maskell asked the Secretary of State if the Government plans “to ban over-the-counter sales of vapes and make vapes only available to people who are taking part in smoking and vaping cessation programmes.”

Neil O'Brien, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary replied: “There are no current plans to ban the sale of over-the-counter sales of vapes or to make vapes only available to people who are taking part in cessation programmes. The Government is clear that vaping should only be used to help adults quit smoking, vapes should not be used by people under 18 years old or by non-smokers.”

Next, Maskell pushed for an increase in local authority funding to “reduce the prevalence of vaping in … young people and adults.”

Nope, we’ve no idea why she wants fewer adults to vape.

O'Brien responded: “In 2023 to 2024 the total public health grant to local authorities will be £3.529 billion. Local authorities are best placed to make decisions on improving the health of their local population and reducing health inequalities.

“Stop Smoking Services are already encouraged to advise vapers who wish to stop vaping, if the person is confident that they can do so without relapsing back to smoking. As part of the new national ‘swap to stop’ programme, we will also offer support to those who want to quit vaping too once the risk of relapse to smoking has passed.

“We have also recently announced new funding to crack down on youth vaping including £3 million to a new illicit vaping enforcement squad to tackle illicit and underage vape sales.”

Rachael Maskell went on to ask if the Department for Health has looked at measures used by other countries to prevent teen and adult vaping.

Again, nope, no clue why she is so keen for us not to vape.

She also wanted to know if the Secretary of State has researched the impact of vaping on children.

Neil O'Brien told her: “The Department has not commissioned research on measures adopted by other countries to prevent the take-up of vaping by young people and adults.

“It is Government policy to help support adult smokers to switch to vaping to help them quit smoking. However, the Department keeps the emerging international evidence under continuous review.”

Through Department funding to the National Institute for Health and Care Research it has commissioned the following research on youth vaping:

Also, the Nicotine Vaping in England: 2022 evidence update also has a chapter on youth vaping:

Finally, Maskell asked for legislation to reduce vaping in children, young people and adults.

Neil O'Brien reminded her about the recent call for evidence on youth vaping to identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing and using vape products.

He said: “This closed on 6 June 2023 and we will now consider a range of options based on the evidence provided, including potential changes to vaping policy and regulation. We will respond later this year.”

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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