“Suppose someone told you that they had a solution to a great social and public health problem that was bedevilling countries across the world. The problem was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of citizens, had cost successive Governments a fortune in health spending and squandered vast reserves of human potential,” said the Rt Hon David Jones MP in the introduction (1).
“The solution would save lives, contribute to the Government’s agenda to level up the country, enhance the UK’s reputation as a world leader on the issue and, perhaps most persuasive of all, would be cost-free. You would no doubt recommend implementing such a solution immediately.”
The Adam Smith Institute (2) believes the approach taken by the UK’s public health bodies in relation to vaping has played, “a significant role in accelerating the decline in smoking rates over the past decade.”
It remains troubled by 7 million adults continuing to smoke and the rate they are switching to e-cigs or quitting is such that the ambition of a “Smoke-free 2030” will be missed unless further steps are taken.
The Institute warns that lockdown has increased the number of social smokers – and the closure of vape stores did nothing to aid tobacco users hoping to leave smoking behind. This is exacerbated, it says, by the gross misinformation flying around and the unfavourable regulatory treatment of other alternative nicotine products.
“Britain’s exit from the European Union provides lawmakers the opportunity to pass vital regulatory reforms that will help more smokers switch to e-cigarettes, as well as other potential reduced-risk alternatives like nicotine pouches, heated tobacco and Swedish snus.”
Trade body UKVIA (3) welcomed the Adam Smith Institute’s report, saying: “The UKVIA has consistently called for the UK to make the most of the opportunities of leaving the European Union, which are now available to the vaping sector. This includes removing unnecessary regulations which are often a barrier to harm reduction and tackling misinformation about e-cigarettes.”
The Adam Smith Institute report, written by its Head of Programmes Daniel Pryor, also calls for “ineffectual warnings” on some vaping products to be replaced and argues that the UK should “robustly defend its approach to tobacco harm reduction” at the global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s COP9 and related WHO meetings later this year.
UKVIA Director General John Dunne has said: “This report is welcome as it shows the opportunities which are now available for the UK vaping sector in terms of increasing smoking cessation and promoting harm reduction, which is why the UKVIA called for vape retail outlets to be classified as ‘essential retail’ throughout the recent lockdowns.
“The Adam Smith Institute’s report builds on our own proposals which we submitted to the Government’s TRPR Consultation. We support the report’s proposals on opposing ‘counterproductive regulations’ which can harm efforts to get smokers to switch to safer alternatives.
“The UKVIA is already working with international partners ahead of the crucial COP9 summit later this year. We will continue to represent the sector as a whole and highlight the consensus opinions of UK public health bodies on the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes to policymakers. We will continue to encourage the Government to allow Global Britain to use its newly independent position to encourage the World Health Organization to adopt a more reasonable approach with regards to reduced-risk products.”
- The Golden Opportunity report - https://staticsquarespace.com/static/56eddde762cd9413e151ac92/t/608bf3be1ebbbd57fde77fd1/1619784640615/The+Golden+Opportunity+-+Daniel+Pryor+-+Ver+1.pdf
- The Adam Smith Institute - https://www.adamsmith.org/
- The UK Vaping Industry Association - https://www.ukvia.co.uk/