The ONS data highlighted that vaping is helping the highest number of smokers recorded to quit smoking since 1974. Examining the results, Vapourlites showed that by counting the number of vape stores within a 2-mile radius of each city, Edinburgh leads the way with the highest concentration of outlets. Vapourlites director, Charles Bloom said: “The emergence of vaping outlets in major cities is highly beneficial – not just to those in the business, but to everyone who is struggling with addiction. It is highly important to maintain choice: people should not feel confined in how they choose to cope with their addiction. Hopefully, the example set by leading cities like Edinburgh, London and Birmingham will encourage cities across the globe to follow suit.”
What should be great news is tempered by the knowledge that the Tobacco Products Directive will limit the ability for vape store staff to offer advice and sampling opportunities as they have done in the past. Also, government cuts are continuing to bite into the local regions being able to fully fund their stop smoking services.
The Press Association reports that smoking is hitting local authorities with £760-million a year in social care costs. This is a rise from the £600-million it was costing in 2012. Alison Cox of Cancer Research UK said: "Cutting the Public Health Grant is short-sighted if the Government is genuinely committed to reducing health inequalities.”
The All-party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health (APPSH) has added to demands that the government pulls its finger out. It notes that the government’s strategy on smoking is now over a year late, and nothing has been said about promoting vaping since David Cameron was in office and made reference to electronic cigarettes.
Bob Blackman MP is the chairman of the APPSH and called for an inquiry looking at the impending social care crisis: "The situation will worsen if funding to local stop smoking services continues to be cut. Smoking is the leading cause of health inequalities in the UK so this puts at serious risk progress towards the Prime Minister's ambition to reduce the burning injustice caused by inequality."
And while vaping is increasingly being recognized for the positive contributions it can make to smoking quit rates and improving the health of the nation, Socialites Zero are doing their best to undermine the goodwill. The company have been caught (for the second time) supplying high strength nicotine eliquids to children.
The company operates from stalls in shopping centres and appeared to have little care who buys its products. In March last year, staff allowed a 15-yr old to buy 24mg eliquid. This prompted a Trading Standards visit, a presentation about the Challenge 25 scheme and the threat of future undercover test purchases. Six months later they sent the same child to make a purchase, who paid for a bottle of 12mg Banana Split.
Socialites Zero pleaded guilty to one offence contrary to Regulation 3 of the Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 and Section 92 (2) of the Children and Families Act 2014. The company was fined £2,836 to include prosecution costs of £791 and a victim surcharge. The company’s legal representative told the court that Socialites Zero took this matter seriously and have reviewed the procedures and introduced the Challenge 25 scheme.