A New Tobacco Control Plan

Posted 22nd June 2021 by Dave Cross
Following the production of a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, Parliament debated the Tobacco Control Plan, which was welcomed by the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA).

The cross-party group told MPs that it “is the time for Government to commit to the actions needed to secure its vision of a Smokefree 2030.”

The APPG’s report included the following recommendations:

  • Funding for tobacco control programmes to be secured through a ‘polluter pays’ amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, forcing manufacturers to pay to deliver the end of smoking
  • Targeted investment to provide additional support to help smokers quit in regions and communities where smoking does most damage. This includes those in routine and manual jobs and the unemployed; living in social housing; with a mental health condition; and pregnant smokers
  • Tougher tobacco regulations to protect children and young people from becoming smokers and help smokers quit, such as putting health warnings on cigarettes and consulting on raising the age of sale to 21
  • Standardising access to Stop Smoking Services including vaping
  • Providing e-cigarette vouchers to smokers, especially in social groups known to have a high smoking prevalence
  • Ensuring young people and “never smokers” do not start vaping
  • Addressing common misperceptions about vape products, such as the mistaken belief they are “as harmful as cigarettes”.

Bob Blackman MP (Chairman of the APPG, Harrow East, Conservative) said: “Our report (1) sets out measures which will put us on track to achieve the Government’s ambition to end smoking by 2030, but they can’t be delivered without funding. Tobacco manufacturers make extreme profits selling highly addictive, lethal products, while government coffers are bare because of COVID-19. The manufacturers have the money, they should be made to pay to end the epidemic.”

The report and its recommendations have been endorsed by leading health organisations including:

  • The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • The Association of Directors of Public Health
  • Asthma UK
  • The British Heart Foundation
  • The British Lung Foundation
  • The British Thoracic Society
  • Cancer Research UK
  • The Faculty of Public Health
  • The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership
  • The Health Foundation
  • The Royal Society of Public Health
  • The Royal College of Physicians

During the ensuing debate (2) in the House of Commons, Jo Churchill announced a positive future for vaping and other reduced harm products.

Freemax

Labour’s Mary Glindon said: “The first recommendation involves effectively tackling the increasing levels of misinformation, as well as the increasing misperception of the relative harm of e-cigarettes versus combustible tobacco. Action on Smoking and Health data suggests that millions of smokers—more than half of the 6.9 million remaining in the UK—could now be dissuaded from exploring switching to e-cigarettes because of incorrect views or confusion about the harm of e-cigarettes.

“To combat increasing misinformation, the UKVIA recommends that the Department of Health launch an effective communication strategy. This should include the introduction of approved health claims and switching messages that can be displayed on vape device and e-liquid packaging alongside nicotine health warnings, a proposal similar to those explored by the Governments of Canada and New Zealand.”

Clwyd West’s David Jones added: “E-cigarettes have been hugely important in the fight against smoking, and I commend NHS England for promoting them to smokers. The strategy is based on evidence, and has a proven positive effect on the health of the nation. In 2017, more than 50,000 smokers who would otherwise have carried on smoking stopped with the aid of a vaping product.”

Conservative Adam Afriyie, chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and a member of the all-party group on e-cigarettes, commented: “It seems to me that we are in an era in which we must be driven by data and evidence. There can be no doubt that the data is completely one way on vaping devices, electronic nicotine delivery systems and all sorts of other technologies to help smoking cessation. Vaping, using an electronic device or even using snus is so much safer than smoking. Smoke is the killer; tobacco is the killer. I urge the Minister not to do what the European Union has done, or what the World Health Organisation seems to be doing, by mangling the two issues. Tobacco is one thing; smoking cessation devices, which in most cases contain nicotine, are a completely different thing, with a completely different scale of harm and risk.”

In a hugely positive response, Jo Churchill spoke about broadening options to current and ex-smokers: “My hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Adam Afriyie) will be interested to hear that, although snus is currently banned under the regulations, we are undertaking a review and will consider the evidence base.”

UWell

John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, said: “We warmly welcome this report and endorse efforts and recommendations designed to encourage smokers to make a less harmful choice. As the UK’s largest trade association representing the fast-growing vaping industry, we are pleased to see among the recommendations proposals for the expanded use of e-cigarettes, which have been proven to be the most effective quit method and have helped more than one million British smokers to transition from combustible tobacco in the last decade.

Many of the concerns raised in the report – together with recommendations to tackle those challenges – are issues on which the UKVIA and the APPG on Smoking and Health, together with its secretariat partner, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), are aligned on many points.

“For instance, we fully support calls for proactively contacting smokers with universally available quit advice and resources, which chime with our own ambitions to bring the NHS and vaping into closer alignment.

“We are also all for providing smokers with e-cigarette vouchers in an extension of a scheme which has been proven to significantly increase quit attempts and successes.

“We know too that population behaviour changes can be driven by mass media campaigns with potentially huge impacts on smokers’ habits and agree with the APPG’s finding that such activity is both effective and cost-effective.”

88 Vape
  1. Delivering a Smokefree 2030: The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health recommendations for the Tobacco Control Plan 2021 - https://ash.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/APPGTCP202pdf
  2. Tobacco Control Plan debate - https://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2021-06-10a.445.1&p=11506


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
Legion of Vapers