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MPs in the House of Commons continue to look at tobacco harm reduction and ask questions about vape products

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MPs in the House of Commons continue to look at tobacco harm reduction and ask questions about vape products. Alison Thewliss wanted to know more about disposable recycling, Navendu Mishra wants child use numbers reduced, as did Tulip Siddiq, while Matt Vickers wants nicotine content to be guaranteed.

Shadow SNP Home Affairs Spokesperson, Alison Thewliss asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Department is taking steps to help ensure that disposable vape producers are contributing to the recycling of their products.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary Rebecca Pow replied: “We will shortly consult on changes to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations to consider what, if any, changes to that legislation are needed to ensure the vaping sector specifically plays its part in properly financing the cost of collection and treatment of their products when they become waste. As part of that consultation, we will also consider measures aimed at driving up levels of collection of household WEEE, including vapes, to ensure more of it is properly recycled.”

Opposition Whip Navendu Mishra asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what steps the Department is taking to reduce the number of children using e-cigarettes and vaping products.

Navendu Mishra didn’t elaborate on what the perceived difference is between ecigs and vapes.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary Neil O'Brien said: “We have regulations in place for nicotine containing vapes (e-cigarettes) to discourage underage vaping. The law protects children through restricting sales of vapes to over 18 year olds only, limiting nicotine content, refill bottle and tank sizes, labelling requirements and through advertising restrictions.

“However, given the changing circumstances surrounding vapes, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) has launched a call for evidence to identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing and using vape products.

“The call for evidence has now closed. The Government is currently considering a range of options based on the evidence provided, including potential changes to vaping policy and regulations and extending regulations to include non-nicotine vaping products.

“In October 2022, we published new content on the potential risks of vaping for young people on the FRANK and Better Health websites and we have provided input to educational resources produced by partners including the PSHE Association. We will shortly be adding new resources for schools on OHID’s Schools Zone web platform.

“We are also developing a new resource pack for schools on vaping which will be made available by summer.”

Shadow Treasury Minister Tulip Siddiq asked a similar question about what steps the Department is taking to reduce the number of underage young people vaping. She received an identical response from O’Brien.

Opposition Whip Navendu Mishra asked the Health Secretary what information his Department holds on the proportion of children between the ages of 11 and 15 who regularly used e-cigarettes in each year since 2018.

Neil O'Brien told them: “Data on the proportion of children aged 11 to 15 year olds who are regular vapers is available in the Smoking, Drinking and Drug use among Young People in England publication. This is normally a biennial publication, however, the 2020 edition was delayed, therefore data is only available for 2018 and 2021. In 2018, 2% of 11 to 15 year olds were regular vapers. In 2021, 4% of 11 to 15 year-olds were regular vapers.”

Finally, Conservative MP Matt Vickers asked the Health Secretary whether steps are being taken with Cabinet colleagues to help ensure that the advertised nicotine contents in disposable vapes are accurate.

Neil O'Brien replied: “Businesses supplying disposable vapes on the United Kingdom market must ensure their products comply with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and this includes the requirement of the labelling on the packaging of the indication of the nicotine content of the product and the delivery per dose. Local trading standards have enforcement powers to remove non-compliant products.”

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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