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Parliament and Politics

The latest questions and debates about vaping, smoking, and tobacco harm reduction from Parliament

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MP Adam Afriyie got an answer to his question about snus, while David Morris asked the Secretary of State about menthol cigarettes and the marketing of the IQOS. Meanwhile, the 2020 All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health met online to discuss Smokefree 2030

Windsor’s Adam Afriyie asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care if, as the US Food and Drug Administration has designated Swedish snus as a modified risk tobacco product, he will discontinue the ban on snus oral tobacco in the United Kingdom.

Jo Churchill, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, told Afriyie that while snus is banned in the United Kingdom under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, “the Government will consider reviewing the position on snus in due course.”

Snus has been a documented success in some Scandinavian countries yet still remains spurned by Europe at large. Non-tobacco snus occupies a grey area in the UK currently being exploited by some unscrupulous vendors. It is believed that at least one organisation has written to Matt Hancock urging him to mirror the UK’s positive stance to vaping and put forward sensible legislation to ensure snus thrives as a tobacco harm reduction product.

Morecambe and Lunesdale’s David Morris wondered “what assessment has [been] made of the level of compliance with the prohibition on the sale of menthol cigarettes under the EU Revised Tobacco Products Directive?”

Churchill informed the house, “No assessment has been made,” but, “we expect the tobacco industry to comply with the requirements of The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, and this includes the recent ban on the sale of menthol flavoured cigarettes. A breach of the regulations could result in enforcement action being taken.”

Morris also noted that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorised “the marketing of the IQOS electrically heated tobacco system as a modified risk tobacco product in the US”, and requested the government to undertake a review of policy in relation to such products in the UK and introduce a regulatory framework for those goods based on risk.

Churchill commented that although the FDA has classified IQOS as a “modified risk product” and permitted the use of certain information in their advertising and marketing of the products, “this does not mean these products are safe or ‘FDA approved’ and they will continue to monitor them.”

She referred Morris to The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment’s assessment on the harms of heated tobacco products. She said: “Evidence suggests heated tobacco products pose a risk to users and though there is likely to be a reduction in risk for cigarette smokers who switch to these products, it is best to quit entirely.”

Churchill added that heated tobacco products are currently regulated under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) and the government will be carrying out a post-implementation review by May 2021.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health met at the end of July to discuss the action needed to secure the Government’s ambition for England to be smokefree by 2030.

The group differs from the one for vaping and tends to mirror the more prohibitionist aims of ASH UK rather than a broader harm reduction approach, hence the push to consider the ‘polluter pays’ approach to smoking. The full discussion can be viewed here: link

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Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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