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Andrea Leadsom has been quizzed by Rupa Huq and Derek Thomas about the promotion of vaping and support to those who want to quit

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Andrea Leadsom, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, has been quizzed by Ealing and Acton’s Labour MP Rupa Huq and St Ives’ Conservative MP Derek Thomas about the promotion of vaping and support to those who want to quit. Her responses confirm the change of mood that has taken place in the Conservative government.

Rupa Huq asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care if legislative steps will be taken “to tackle the promotion of e-cigarettes and disposable vapes to children”.

Responding for the Department, Andrea Leadsom said: “The Government is concerned about the worrying rise in illicit and underage vaping, with rates of youth vaping having tripled in the last three years. Disposable vapes are the most popular device for children, with 69% of current vapers aged 11 to 17 years old in the United Kingdom using them, nearly a ninefold increase in the past two years. Five million disposable vapes are either littered or thrown away in general waste every week, a number which has quadrupled in the last year.

“The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 outlines restrictions on the marketing and promotion of vapes. This includes a ban on television, radio and online advertising. We work closely with the Advertising Standards Authority which investigates advertising on social media platforms. The regulations are available at this link.

“On 29 January, the Government responded to the consultation Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping: your views. This set out our plan to introduce legislation to tackle the appeal and availability of vapes to children. The legislation will introduce powers to restrict flavours, point of sale and packaging of vaping products.

In the consultation response, we also announced that we will be banning disposable vapes. The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs are taking forward the ban and are looking to legislate as soon as possible.”

Derek Thomas also took up the opportunity to discover if the Department for Health and Social Care now prioritises rumour and hysteria over evidenced-based policy making by asking “what support is available for people wanting to give up vaping”.

Andrea Leadsom responded: “Vaping can be an effective tool for adult smokers to quit smoking. However, the health advice is clear: if you don’t smoke, don’t vape, and children should never vape. The NHS Better Health website provides advice for people who want to quit vaping. Local stop smoking services can also provide resources to support children and adult vapers to quit, through funding from the public health grant.

In addition, the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training has produced guidance for local Stop Smoking Service staff on how best to support vapers to quit. We are also exploring further ways to support people to quit vaping, as part of the national Swap to Stop programme.”

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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