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Industry Responds to Government Action

Numerous industry bodies are welcoming the Government’s plans to encourage smokers to swap cigarettes for vapes and tackle illegal sales of vape products

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Numerous industry bodies are welcoming the Government’s plans to encourage smokers to swap cigarettes for vapes and tackle illegal sales of vape products. The Association of Convenience Stores is “encouraged”, ANDS, a distributor of alternative nicotine delivery products, says “it’s very positive”, Arcus Compliance says pre-emptive strategies are needed, and Zovoo has pledged its support.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We strongly welcome this course of action from government, harnessing the potential for vaping to accelerate the decline in smoking rates, and it’s encouraging that the government are committing new resource and some innovative approaches to make this happen.

“We are encouraged by Ministers recognising the need to ensure that the vaping market operates properly, which means that only legal product reaches retailers and consumers, and only adults can buy these products. The stronger focus on enforcement, backed by greater resources at a local level, is the right way to achieve this. Our members will welcome and embrace more enforcement activity and our guidance, on recognising legal products and implementing the widely recognised and robust Challenge25 policy to avoid under age sales, is freely available for all retailers to use.

“We will continue to work with the Department for Health & Social Care and Trading Standards departments to make this approach work.”

Fadi Maayta, Co-founder and President of ANDS, which is about to enter the UK market, said: “In our view it’s very positive to see that the UK government has refrained from announcing a ban on flavoured vapes yesterday as hinted at recently in the British media to address the issue of youth vaping.

“It’s why the UK is seen as a global leader in tobacco control, choosing to go down a policy path that recognises the potential alternative nicotine products to tobacco.

“It’s also why we have decided to invest significantly in the UK market as part of our global expansion plans.”

Fadi Maayta continued: “Like the UKVIA, we applaud the introduction of a test purchasing initiative and the Government’s investment to support the future capability of Trading Standards in dealing with underage and illicit sales. But until we’ve cut off the sales ability of those who are just in the industry to make a fast buck and have no qualms about how they are going to go about it, the problem will remain. The £3m initial investment by the government is a good starting point. However, Trading Standards need a sustainable financing model and the proposals by the UKVIA to provide ongoing funding via a retail registration scheme and on the spot fines of up to £10,000 per offence are spot on.”

Lee Bryan, CEO of Arcus Compliance, added: “It’s encouraging to see the government is doubling down on efforts to curb underage vape sales and Arcus Compliance welcomes newly announced measures intended to crackdown on rogue traders who happily flout the law to line their own pockets.

“However, the introduction of a national test purchasing scheme and the formation of an illicit vape enforcement squad, while a step in the right direction, will only go so far in addressing the issue.

“If policymakers want to get serious about ending youth access in the UK, they must bring pre-emptive strategies into force and catch child-appealing products before they ever make it to the shelves.

“Shockingly, brands currently don’t have to provide any images when they submit for market approval, meaning products and packaging that flaunt iconography popular with young people can slip through the system undetected.

“This is a major hole that could be patched immediately if companies were made to upload pictures before they were given the thumbs up by regulators and allowed to sell in the UK.

“To build on this, policymakers could also increase the limit of nicotine-containing vape devices from 2ml to 10ml in a move that would allow retailers to charge more per product and make vaping a less affordable habit for youth.

“The government’s latest actions to stop youth access while supporting the critical role of vaping as a proven smoking alternative are a modest victory for public health and the compliant vape sector, but they are not a be-all and end-all solution.

“Regulators and the industry now need to come together to build on this forward momentum by implementing and supporting further measures that hold cowboy retailers to account…the battle is far from over and complacency is not an option.”

Disposable e-cigarette brand Zovoo also supports the steps the government has pledged to take. It said: “As a responsible company, Zovoo is committed to promoting responsible vaping habits among customers, and in compliance with TRPR & TPD regulations.

“Zovoo will continue to work closely with the UK government and regulatory bodies to ensure that the product is safe and high-quality. Zovoo will also continue to educate customers about the potential risks of vaping and the importance of responsible use.”

Committing to abide by UK regulations, Zovoo added that it “firmly adheres to the principles of ‘being user-centred, compliant, and technologically innovative’ to provide better vaping experience to customers.”

Dave Cross avatar

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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