“We recognise that the primary purpose of the Great Repeal Bill to be announced in the 2017 Queen’s speech is to bring most of the body of European Union law into UK law substantively unchanged,” write the NNA harm reduction advocates. “However, we hope that ministers will consider actually repealing some of the worst examples of European Union Law, especially where a domestic approach would have multiple benefits to health, wellbeing, commerce, personal freedom and competitiveness.”
They are calling for the scrapping of the TPD and the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. It follows the 2015 report by Public Health England, the Royal College of Physicians report, latest findings from The Cochrane Review and recent efficacy support from (again) Public Health England.
“Public health supporters around the world will be looking to the UK to defend safer alternatives to cigarettes,” writes Professor Gerry Stimson, emeritus chair at Imperial College London, in The Spectator. “So far, France is the only EU country to share the UK approach. These two, the only countries in the EU where cigarettes must now be in plain packaging, are rightly recognised as Europe’s leaders on tobacco control. They must hold their ground. A billion lives could depend on it.”
Why is it important for Britain to take a strong stance on supporting harm reduction? One only needs to glance across the Atlantic, where Tony Yang and Micah Berman write in the JAMA Pediatrics journal: “While the publication of the final deeming rule is an important step forward, the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] should use its authority to further advance the public's health by imposing restrictions on e-cigarette advertising and renewing its effort to restrict the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes.”
According to them the best way to reduce harm caused by smoking is to dismantle all of the aspects of vaping that makes it attractive and efficacious. They spread this message through medical media, sewing doubt and propagating a belief that there’s an absence of evidence – and therefore evidence of absence that vaping works.
They continue: “Some e-cigarette companies are using youth-resonant themes such as rebellion, glamour, and sex; celebrity endorsements; and sports and music sponsorships -- all strategies taken from the cigarette companies' old playbook.”
It is why Steven J. Allen has been moved to pen: “The Food and Drug Administration has joined with Big Tobacco to crush the small businesses that make up most of the e-cigarette industry. In the process, bureaucrats are endangering millions of lives.”
Will the NNA find success in their call for the government to adopt common sense in its approach to vape regulation? Would a change in UK legislative stance influence other countries in their approaches? It remains to be seen, but we fully support their efforts.