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We return to the Palace of Westminster for the final time to round up the questions about vaping and tobacco harm reduction in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We will be hearing from Lord Naseby, Stephen Morgan, Lyn Brown and Daisy Cooper.

Conservative Lord Naseby asked the Government when the illicit vaping enforcement squad will begin its enforcing and squadery.

Lord Markham, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care replied: “National Trading Standards, who are delivering the vaping enforcement work, have already commenced work on data collection and intelligence analysis of the illicit vaping market. Other activity, for example at the border, test purchasing and testing of illicit products, is likely to commence in the Autumn.”

Stephen Morgan, the Shadow Education Minister asked the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to prevent sweet shops selling vapes.

Neil O'Brien, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care told him: “The Government recently ran a call for evidence on youth vaping which closed on 6 June 2023. This will identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing and using vaping products and explore where the Government can go further. We will respond later this year.”

Shadow Foreign Minister Lyn Brown then wanted to know how the Government is preventing teen vaping in and around schools.

Neil O'Brien stated: “Given the recent increase in children vaping, the Government launched a call for evidence to identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing and using vaping products. The call for evidence has now closed and we are currently analysing the responses including for the theme ‘Effective educational approaches to prevent child use of vapes’. Following this, the Government will consider a range of options based on the evidence provided, including potential changes to vaping policy and regulation.

“The Prime Minister also recently announced several measures to address youth vaping, including closing a loophole that allows industry from giving out free samples to people of any age. As part of the wider review of relationships, sex and health education, we will update the health education curriculum to teach children about the harmful effects of vaping.

“The Government will also write to police forces to ensure dedicated school liaison officers across the country are aware of the Government's work on vaping and can make use of new resources to raise awareness of harms and the law, as well as supporting enforcement of school bans.

“To make young people aware of the risks of using vapes, in October 2022 we published new vaping content on the Talk to Frank and Better Health websites and developed a suite of resources for schools to use, including the recently published year nine lesson plan published by the PSHE Association.”

Lyn Brown followed up by asking what steps the Government are taking to prevent underage vaping of illegal substances and the sale of vape products by children.

O'Brien explained: “The Government is concerned about the recent rises in youth vaping, particularly because of the unknown long-term harms. We have recently outlined bold action to crack down on youth vaping. In April, we announced £3 million of funding for a new illicit vaping enforcement squad to tackle illicit and underage vape sales. At the end of May, the Prime Minister announced further action, including closing a loophole that allows the vape industry to give free samples of vapes to children, further education measures in schools, and a commitment to review the rules on selling nicotine-free vapes to under 18 year olds and in issuing on-the-spot fines.”

Finally, Daisy Cooper, the Lib Dem Spokesperson for Health asked about the potential for a licensing regime for vape shops.

Neil O'Brien replied: “No formal assessment has been made.”

Ripping stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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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