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Final questions from Parliament before the MPs went off on their summer jollies and a useful intervention by Professor Linda Bauld

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MPs David Jones and Neil Hudson plied the Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care with his final questions before parliamentarians focussed their attentions on visiting sunny foreign beaches or demanding some people didn’t arrive at ours. Following a drip feed from the Prime Minister’s office, Professor Linda Bauld warned the Government not to consider banning disposables or e-liquid flavours.

David Jones, the Clwyd West Conservative, 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 any other evidence on vaping produced by the UK academic community.

Departmental Under-Secretary 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 Organization Global Tobacco Regulators Forum.”

Penrith and The Border’s Tory, 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.

Neil O'Brien informed him: “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.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been sending out secret messages to selected media outlets indicating that he plans on implementing “a crackdown on youth vaping”. Part and parcel of this is a rumoured ban on disposable vapes – something several ignorant MPs and lobbyists have been pushing for months.

Commenting on the possible move, Linda Bauld, the University of Edinburgh’s Professor of Public Health, said: “Given the rise in youth vaping, which is genuine, it’s appropriate to think about adding additional protections and closing loopholes.”

But she continued by cautioning: “Outright bans on a category of product can have unintended consequences. Prohibition in history hasn’t been a great success story [and] any ban would need complementary action on the illicit trade.”
Professor Bauld suggested that a far better approach would be to increase the duty levied on disposables, so they are moved out of the pocket money price range.

In response to calls to ban juice flavours, Professor Bauld said: “If you wanted to reduce youth vaping, I wouldn’t say flavours would be the first line of attack. Price and promotion are the two areas to focus on.”

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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