Politics & Campaigns


Rachael Maskell has a number of problems with vaping, many of which are detailed in this article, but the biggest problem is possibly that she is no different to Andrea Leadsom

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Rachael Maskell has a number of problems with vaping. She thinks non-nicotine vapes are a gateway to vaping with nicotine, she thinks companies should face a complete ban from advertising their reduced hard ‘legal’ products, and she would like to see vaping banned from almost everywhere. But Rachael Maskell’s biggest problem is possibly that she is no different to Andrea Leadsom.

Rachael Maskell asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care if an assessment of the risk of people moving from non-nicotine to nicotine vapes would be made.

Andrea Leadsom, fresh from insulting the industry and lying to Parliament, told her: “Our health advice regarding vapes covers both non-nicotine as well as nicotine vapes, that while vaping can play a useful role in helping adult smokers to quit, non-smokers and children should never vape. The long-term health impacts of vaping are unknown, and the nicotine contained within nicotine vapes can be highly addictive.

“We recognise the risk of non-nicotine vapes being used as a gateway to nicotine vapes by children. That is why the Tobacco and Vapes Bill includes new regulation making powers that will cover all vapes, nicotine as well as non-nicotine, to reduce their appeal and availability to children and non-smokers.”

No one explained why either of them think that something with a similar risk profile to a cup of coffee is worth this level of worry.

Maskell then asked the Secretary of State if an assessment of the potential merits of a full advertising ban on companies promoting vaping products is likely.

Leadsom would love to do this. Maskell would love to do this. It’s unevidenced, undemocratic and completely anti-business, but they’d both love to do this. It might seem unconservative, but then this is now the party that told business to go four letter word itself.

Probably spitting the evidenced-based advice she is given out through gritted teeth, Leadsom said: “The health advice is clear, if you don’t smoke, don’t vape and children should never vape. Advertising of vapes is already restricted by existing regulations. This includes a ban on advertising on television and radio, and through internet advertising, or commercial email. However, products can still be promoted elsewhere, such as on digital billboards.

“Whilst we are not currently planning on making any further changes to the rules regarding vape advertising, we are taking action to protect children from the harms of vaping by taking new regulation making powers that can be used to limit vape flavours, how vapes are packaged, and where and how they can be displayed in retail settings. Collectively, these actions will reduce the appeal and accessibility of vapes to children, whilst ensuring vapes remain an effective smoking cessation tool for adult smokers.”

Finally, and most frighteningly, Maskell asked if the Department would consider “the potential merits of banning the use of vapes in public spaces, bars and vehicles with child passengers.

This is despite Public Health England, Cancer Research UK and the Royal College of Physicians saying there is no risk or no evidence of secondhand vapour risk.

This is despite the likelihood that banning vaping in a car would drive parents back to smoking – something that is already banned but completely unenforced by the police as it’s an impractical law.

Again, you know that Leadsom would ban these things if she could wave her wand and make things disappear as easily as the truth from her CV.

She said: “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. This is why the Tobacco and Vapes Bill will give us powers to crack down on child friendly flavours and packaging, and to change the way vapes are displayed in shops, measures on which we will shortly consult.

“Inhaling anything other than fresh air may have long term health effects. Evidence on the harm from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is well established and because of its carcinogenic content there is no safe level of exposure. Breathing in other people’s tobacco smoke is known to cause a range of health issues. However, there is currently no evidence to suggest that second-hand vapour causes wider health harms in the way tobacco smoke does. Therefore, the Government has no plans to introduce restrictions on where people can vape.

“However, many public venues and spaces have their own policies on vaping. For example, most hospitals and public transport have banned vaping. Employers or operators of indoor spaces would be within their rights to implement policies banning the use of vapes in their premises and many do so.”

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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