Science and Technology Committee

Posted 10th May 2018 by Mawsley
The latest meeting of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee, looking into e-Cigarettes and vaping, took place on Wednesday 9 May 2018 Meeting starts at 5.05pm. This one saw MPs questioning vendor organisations and a representative of the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA).

This session, the fifth sitting of this particular select committee, invited three more attendees to talk about vaping. In the hot seat this time:

  • Fraser Cropper, Chair, Independent British Vape Trade Association
  • John Dunne, Director, UK Vaping Industry Association
  • Sarah Jakes, Chair, New Nicotine Alliance

The Independent British Vape Trade Association’s (IBVTA) Fraser Cropper claimed to speak on behalf of around 300 businesses (although only 63 are listed on the website), which would be 50% of the UK independent vape sector. He said that because the organisation speaks only for the independent sector it means it has a clear voice – and described others who represent vaping and tobacco as being conflated, and that IBVTA’s message is clear that vaping is an alternative to tobacco.

John Dunne (UKVIA) represented vape companies that included those from the tobacco and the pharmaceutical sectors. He began: “I think, from our perspective, we represent the whole industry. We are a fully inclusive organisation.” There would be many that would argue, Fraser Cropper being one, that representing tobacco companies (25% of the market) compromises an ability to put forward what’s best for the 75% of the market.

Both Fraser Cropper and John Dunne agreed that they were speaking as if with one voice when it comes to matters of vaping and the harm reduction potential it offers current smokers.

Sarah Jakes (NNA) spoke on behalf of everybody who would like to use nicotine in a safer manner than smoking. She lamented the path that led us here, from Edwina Curry pushing the ban on snus products through to Anna Soubry agreeing to include vaping products in the Tobacco Products Directive – summed up in the phrase: “We’ve seen mistakes made when it comes to the role of harm reduction in tobacco policy.”

“What we’d like to see now is leadership and not complacency. This country can do better in terms of harm reduction” - Sarah Jakes, Chair, New Nicotine Alliance

Sarah spoke about how moves were afoot in Europe to strangle the life from a nascent electronic cigarette market, which was only prevented by concerted consumer and entrepreneur efforts. She described the current landscape as being a “regulatory dogs dinner, that blights the lives of 3-million vapers in the UK and harms those smokers who might otherwise chose to switch to the safer product.”

The full Parliamentary Science & Technology Committee meeting can be viewed below:

Previous sessions can be viewed as follows: