Politicians and academics mixed with experts from the scientific and medicine communities as they listened to presentations made during three panel debates.
Topics discussed ranged from the World Health Organisation’s recent maligning of tobacco harm reduction and vaping, the important role electronic cigarettes are now playing in healthcare, and the thorny issue of misperceptions about vaping and how they can be overcome.
UKVIA’s Director General, John Dunne said: “After almost two years of lockdowns it was fantastic for so many of our UKVIA colleagues to finally get together in person and discuss the most pressing issues facing vaping today.
“Not only that, but we were honoured to have some truly esteemed representatives from the scientific, academic political and health sectors who all gave great insights into the latest thinking around vaping’s current and potential impact on society.”
The Institute of Economic Affairs’ Chris Snowdon chaired the first session that addressed the World Health Organisation’s poor attitude to reduced harm nicotine products. He said that people automatically attach credence to its statements – even when they are at odds with the scientific evidence.
Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping chair, Mark Pawsey MP said: “Increasingly vaping and smoking are getting conflated. There are too many places where it says that vaping and smoking are as bad as each other and we know they are very different activities. Leaving the EU, we can form our own policy on this and continue the reduction in smoking that is helping so many people.”
The CEO of Evapo (2), Andrej Kuttruf, pointed out that it makes no sense to talk about a gateway from vaping into smoking as the evidence clearly highlights less than 1% of never smokers vape.
Dr Sudhanshu Patwardhan, The Centre for Health Research and Education, spoke about misinformation during the second session. He said that the recent study highlighting the ignorance about nicotine in the medical community needed urgently addressing. The study discovered around half of them mistakenly believe nicotine in cigarettes is carcinogenic and project that misunderstanding onto vape products.
During the third session, Mark Aylwin, managing director of the Booker Group, which runs a wholesale cash and carry chain, spoke about how vaping products ought to be moved away from supermarket and corner shop tobacco counters as that would go towards improve vaping’s image.
John Dunne concluded: “It was brilliant to once again be able to get into a room with so many forward thinking people to look at what has been achieved in the last 12 months despite the pandemic and, more importantly, steel our resolve for the coming year and do all we can collaboratively to promote our industry and get even more smokers to switch to vaping.”