Politics & Campaigns

Prescription Model Ruled Out

As part of discussions about vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Parliament, the Department for Health and Social Care has ruled out a prescription-only future

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As part of discussions about vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Parliament, the Department for Health and Social Care has ruled out a prescription-only future following a question from Conservative MP Neil Hudson. In addition, Tory David Jones asked about the delegation to this year’s WHO conference in Panama and Labour’s Rachael Maskell fired a volley of questions at the Department for Education.

Prescription-only model for the UK ruled out

Penrith and The Border’s Neil Hudson asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what assessment the Department has made of the potential merits of restricting the supply of vape products to be only available through pharmacies to people with a prescription.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary Neil O'Brien said: “No formal assessment has been made. There are no medicinally licensed vaping products approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. As such, the Government is not currently considering making vaping products prescription-only.”

Despite the response, it remains troubling that Hudson feels such a move is beneficial in the first place.

Plans for WHO FCTC COP10

Clwyd West’s David Jones asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the UK delegation to the Tenth Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will share with the World Health Organisation the annual review of nicotine vaping commissioned by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and other evidence on vaping produced by the UK academic community.

Neil O'Brien told him: “The Government has regularly set out our position on vaping at the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and will do so at the next conference in Panama in November 2023.

“The latest ‘Vaping in England’ report published last year, which includes an array of evidence produced by the United Kingdom academic community, is publicly available online and has been shared with the World Health Organisation Global Tobacco Regulators Forum.”

Maskell overload

York Central’s Rachael Maskell asked the Secretary of State for Education a slew of questions:

  • What steps are being taken to help schools and colleges address pupils vaping?
  • What steps are being taken to encourage education about vaping?
  • Does the Department plan to provide support for schools to place heat detectors on school premises to detect vaping? (Good luck detecting vape with a heat detector)
  • What discussions have been had with Cabinet colleagues on vaping in schools?
  • What steps are being taken to encourage schools to record and monitor vaping by their pupils?

Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Education replied: “The Relationships, Sex and Health Education statutory guidance states that, in both primary and secondary school, pupils should be taught the facts regarding legal and illegal harmful substances and associated risks, including smoking, alcohol use, and drug taking.

“To support schools to deliver this content effectively, the Department published a suite of teacher training modules, including content on drugs, alcohol and tobacco, which makes specific reference to e-cigarettes.

“In addition, content on drugs, alcohol and tobacco is taught in compulsory health education. This supplements drug education which is part of the national curriculum for science in Key Stages 2 and 3.

“Schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy that sets out what is expected of all pupils, including what items are banned from school premises. This should be communicated to all pupils, parents and school staff.

“Schools have the autonomy to decide which items should be banned from their premises, and these can include vapes. Items banned by the school can be searched for as outlined in the Department’s Searching, screening and confiscation guidance.

“The Department believes that this will help head teachers to manage vaping on school premises and to inform pupils on the risks, with a view to reducing the numbers of pupils who are currently vaping, or who might be tempted to try it in the future.

“The Department trusts head teachers to develop tailored behaviour policies which reflect their school’s individual contexts and needs and to decide the best methods to enforce these policies.

“Officials in the Department have engaged with officials in the Department for Health and Social Care to discuss the use of e-cigarettes as part of health education which includes content on drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

“On 1 June 2023, the Prime Minister announced an intervention taking steps to prevent pupils acquiring e-cigarettes illegally. As part of this, the Department is planning to include the risks of using e-cigarettes in the curriculum, following the review.”

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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