Parliament Returns To Work

Posted 3rd February 2020 by Dave Cross
With a certain major hurdle now negotiated, the Houses of Parliament have found themselves able to engage in other matters, including getting vaping and tobacco harm reduction back on the table. Baroness Redfern wanted to know how vaping has impacted upon the health of the public, Ranil Jayawardena continues to raise problematic questions and Gareth Johnson wondered if Brexit means the EU Tobacco Products Directive will be lifted.

Baroness Redfern opened up discussions about vaping in the new parliamentary session by asking: “What assessment [has been] made of the effect of vaping on public health?”

Baroness Blackwood, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care, responded: “My Lords, despite reductions in smoking rates, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in England. E-cigarettes are not risk free but are less harmful to health than smoking tobacco. Each year, more than 50,000 additional people who would not have quit through other means quit smoking through e-cigarette use. We continue to monitor the evidence base on e-cigarettes. The next Public Health England annual review is due in February 2020.”

Tory Ranil Jayawardena, MP for North East Hampshire, has repeatedly asked about potential harm to children’s lungs. This time, he asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care: “With reference to the findings of the study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on 6 January 2020, what recent assessment [has been] made of the increased risk of stroke associated with vaping?”

Jayawardena seems fixated by potential harm, so it is surprising that he is so ill-versed in what British research is telling us.

Jo Churchill replied to him to say: “The study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on 6 January 2020 found that people who had used e-cigarettes only were at significantly lower risk of stroke than those who smoke. There was no significant difference in risk between non-smokers who use e-cigarettes and non-smokers who do not.” [link]

“Public Health England’s advice remains that smokers should stop smoking completely and that e-cigarettes can be helpful, particularly for the most heavily addicted smokers. PHE keeps the peer reviewed research on e-cigarettes under continuous review.”

Churchill gave Jayawardena a couple of websites to look at:

  • NHS Help and Advice – [link]
  • NHS Using Ecigs to Quit Smoking – [link]

Finally, Gareth Johnson, Conservative MP for Dartford, asked The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care: “[If there are] plans to amend the legislation on vaping implemented under the EU Tobacco Products Directive after the UK leaves the EU?”

Jo Churchill told him: “The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) enabled us to introduce measures to regulate e-cigarettes to reduce the risk of harm to children and protect against any risk of renormalisation of tobacco use, provide assurance on relative safety for users, and provide legal certainty for businesses. The Government has committed to review the TRPR by May 2021 to ensure they are fit for purpose.”

All current sounding from Parliament is that there are no plans in place to roll back aspects of the EU Tobacco Products Directive that have been incorporated into British law. We are yet to see what proposals will be included under the next iteration of European legislation, known as TPD3, and if they will be put into Tobacco and Related Products Regulations as part of trade negotiations.


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker