The UK Vaping Industry Association and The Independent British Vape Trade Association celebrated the ending of the enforced closure of vape shops.
John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, said: “The closure of retail outlets has been especially difficult for some users of vaping products who have struggled to get hold of equipment and advice that they needed and who might well have returned to smoking over the past few months. I am so pleased that the wider vape retail sector in England and Wales is now able to reopen its shop doors on Monday 12th April and begin trading again.”
Liam Humberstone, The IBVTA’s Steering Committee, Engagement & Stewardship Lead, said how, “there are new normals anymore, and we need to focus on what we do really well within our sector. Number One: We’re very good at welcoming ordinary adult smokers into our stores and effectively helping them to if not quit then cut down. For experienced vapers, we provide them with a choice but also have the opportunity to turn those people into advocates.”
VPZ typified the response of the business sector by announcing the launch of a new Vape Clinic service to help smokers quit – important as we discovered the lockdowns had increased the number of smokers and the volume of cigarettes they used per day [link].
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping then released its report on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s Conference of Parties (COP9).
The report [link] stated: “The UK is a world leader in this field and must fully embrace this position. Whereas in previous years the UK delegation to the FCTC COP has been obligated to adhere to the consensus view within the European Union, post-Brexit it is able not only to forge its own path in terms of domestic legislation on vaping and reduced- risk products, but also to take its place on the world stage as a leader in pragmatic and effective health regulation.”
John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, applauded the report: “It’s about time that the vaping industry stood up against the World Health Organization (WHO) and the APPG on Vaping has done a great job of doing so, challenging the organisation to change its approach to harm reduction and calling upon Government to consider a reduction in funding if they continue in the same vein by taking a prohibitionist stance. It was also good to see that the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control treaty was called into question by parliamentarians, who want it to better reflect UK’s national interest.
The ban on sending vapemail was suddenly effecting British vapers, with numbers of them reporting problems getting their orders delivered in the UK [link].
The New Nicotine Alliance and the European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates made submissions to the UK government as part of The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) consultation exercise [link].
Planet of the Vapes was making itself known in the business sector and world of advocacy. Following on from partnering VApril, POTV was then asked to partner the ENDS21 conference [link], The World Vapers' Alliance’s World Vape Day activities [link], and the GFN21 conference [link].
At GFN21, Planet of the Vapes’ news editor Dave Cross took part in The Global Forum for Nicotine hybrid live/online conference, where the live audience was joined by 1100 participants from 87 countries around the world.
UKVIA’s John Dunne, Director demand the government did more in response to smoking figures: “Whilst it was good to see that the report showed that sales of e-cigarettes have increased by 7%, it is shocking to see so many smokers smoking more or returning to their habit in this day and age when there are much less harmful alternatives, such as vape products, available.”
The NHS and the University of East Anglia did just that by announcing the start of a trial including patients attending Accident & Emergency departments in five British NHS Trusts [link].
Cancer Research UK updated its position on vaping [link], researchers looked at how effective expert videos are at tackling smoker misperceptions about electronic cigarettes and vaping [link], and Clive Bates demonstrated how the 95% safer figure still holds true [link].
Further positive news came from The Royal College of Physicians’ new report covering vaping’s role in tobacco harm reduction [link].
Gillian Golden, IBVTA’s CEO said: “We welcome the Royal College of Physicians’ placement of vaping as such a pivotal tool in the fight against the harms of smoking, and the urgent call to correct misperceptions about the relative harms. The UK is a world leader in vaping and if our government heeds the RCP’s calls to action, we have the potential to go even further.”
UKVIA’s John Dunne added: “This report by the Royal College of Physicians offers some important positive suggestions on reducing smoking levels and improving public health rates for the UK’s 7 million smokers. The UK is seen as a world leader in vaping. Therefore, I hope the Government takes note of the key recommendations in this report to build on this success; not least the suggestions about better promoting the take up of e-cigarettes for smokers by challenging and correcting the misrepresentation about the relative harms of vaping and removing vaping from smoking restrictions in public places.”
The New Nicotine Alliance charity wrote to the Government about its levelling up agenda and pointing out how reduced harm products can help it capitalise on Brexit [link], while University College London/London South Bank University researchers launched a new trial to help the homeless switch from smoking to vaping [link].
Finally, with summer looming, Matt Hancock left being responsible for vape policy and the Department of Health [link].