The Chairman of the APPG, Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, gave a speech while presenting the report at a reception in the Houses of Parliament. He warned that current methods are not working for the nation’s eight million smokers and that: “it’s up to the government to ensure such campaigns (as PHEs) become the norm, not an exception, so that the UK can fully exploit the public health potential of vaping. The current confusing messages regarding vaping are putting off people from even trying e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool.”
Emphasising the benefit of vaping, Pawsey writes in the report: “we are seeing mounting evidence from respected and leading health organisations which show that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking to our health – indeed at least as much as 95% according to Public Health England.”
“The positive public health message of vaping compared to smoking is clearly failing to get across to the seven million remaining smokers in the UK. This requires urgent attention. At the moment we run the risk of not fully exploiting the public health potential of vaping, which our leading health bodies and consumer groups have identified through their respective studies.”
John Dunne, a member of UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), had this to say: “Smokers who want to switch to vaping should not be faced with unnecessary hurdles that may hinder their transition. For example, arbitrary restrictions on liquid strengths and e-liquid bottle sizes, and advertising bans akin to those for tobacco products make little or no sense from a public health perspective.”
The report makes five recommendations:
- The Government and public health bodies should immediately start a continuous programme to accurately communicate the positive public health message of vaping to the remaining seven million smokers in the UK.
- The APPG calls upon the Government to urgently deliver the commitment in the Tobacco Control Plan to review vaping regulation, in particular the disproportionate aspects of Article 20 of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive that effectively put vaping in the same bracket as smoking.
- The APPG recommends that the Government adopts a wider collaborative approach to policy creation involving all stakeholders including the regulators, scientific and public health experts and the industry.
- Trading Standards must ensure that current vaping regulations, particularly the product standards of the Tobacco Products Directive, are consistently and rigorously enforced.
- The Government should review and consider the steps taken by devolved authorities in Scotland and Wales to develop the enforcement powers of regulators.
Written in a clear style, with contributions from actual experts, the report makes for easy and informative reading. It can be found here for free download: http://www.ukvia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/State-of-the-Vaping-Nation-Report.pdf