Politics & Campaigns


Yes, there has been an awful lot of attention in Parliament focussed on vaping recently and it looks as though it’s going to continue all the way through to the general election

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Focus on vaping in Parliament has been incessant recently and this final instalment brings us up to date. Lord Bourne was all about the safety, Conservative Andrew Gwynne wanted to see arrests, Neil Hudson was concerned about animals, wildfires, and sponsorship deals.

Conservative Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth fired a question at His Majesty's Government about the assessments made of the safety of vaping and what actions they are consequently planning.

Lord Bourne didn’t elaborate about the safety aspects he is concerned about.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, Lord Markham told him that all assessments of vaping’s safety “are based upon a series of evidence reviews commissioned over the past several years.”

The most recent and final in the series, the 2022 Nicotine Vaping in England report, was published in September 2022.

Lord Markham continued: “The report focuses predominantly on the potential health risks of vaping and concludes that in the short and medium term, vaping poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking, but that vaping is not risk-free, particularly for people who have never smoked. The report carried out reviews on biomarkers of exposure to nicotine and potential toxicants; biomarkers of potential harm to health cutting across several diseases, including cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases; biomarkers specifically associated with cancer, respiratory, cardiovascular or other health outcomes; poisonings; fires and explosions; nicotine and flavours.

“The Government only recommends regulated vaping products to help adult smokers to quit smoking and vapes should not be used by people under 18 year olds or non-smokers.”

Next up, the Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care, Andrew Gwynne MP asked the Home Secretary how many arrests have been made in the last 12 months related to the sale of illegal vapes.

Minister of State, Chris Philp replied that the Home Office collects and publishes data on arrests in England and Wales but “the data are broken down by wider offence group, therefore data on more specific offences such as the sale of illegal vapes is not available.”

Penrith and The Border’s Neil Hudson wanted DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to detail the potential harms of disposable vapes to animals and if the Department is collecting information about disposable vape related wildfires.

Under-Secretary Rebecca Pow answered with a nothing soup: “My officials are working closely with those in the Department for Health and Social Care, who have published a call for evidence on the impacts of vaping, including on the natural environment. We will publish the findings in due course.”

Finally, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was also in Hudson’s sights. He wanted the Secretary of State to collect information on the level of sponsorship of sports teams by vaping companies – no doubt fired up by the rubbish spouted at a recent Commons debate.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Stuart Andrew told him: “The department does not currently plan to assess the levels of sponsorships by vaping companies in sport, or the level of vaping advertising more broadly. Sports are responsible for their own commercial deals.”

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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