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IBVTA Responds

The Independent British Vape Trade Association has responded to the Government’s “swap to stop” scheme and its announcement to tackle illicit vapes and underage sales

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The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) has responded to the Government’s “swap to stop” scheme and its announcement to tackle illicit vapes and underage sales. The IBVTA says it is delighted by the announcement by Public Health Minister Neil O’Brien and welcomed the new task force and ring-fenced funding to tackle illegal vape sales.

IBVTA says that through the work its members do, they are all very familiar with how to support smokers to switch to vaping.

As well as immediate health improvements, many vapers then go on to give up nicotine completely in time. However, the most important thing to remember is that while nicotine is one of the more addictive aspects of smoking, the harm from cigarettes comes from other toxins that are either absent, or at comparatively very low levels in e-cigarette vapour. Vaping is very much safer than smoking,” IBVTA says.

IBVTA delighted in the fact that one of its leading members “provided guidance, training, and products to support over 1000 smokers in Salford’s ‘Swap to Stop’ programme”, the UK’s largest pilot programme which informed the Government’s actions.

Over 60% of participants that stayed with the programme were smoke-free after 4 weeks. The proportion of smokers that were willing to try quitting with vaping was record-breaking at the time.”

Prefacing the Government’s announcement, IBVTA Chief Executive Officer, Gillian Golden, said, “The IBVTA is delighted with news that the UK Government not only recognises vaping as a safe and effective quit method, but that they are also committing to directly support smokers to quit using vapes. I am also sure that IBVTA members will be pivotal in enabling success for all the new schemes to be announced by Health Secretary Neil O’Brien today.

O’Brien’s speech also detailed plans to implement “a range of measures aiming to tackle illicit vapes and underage sales.”

The IBVTA believes that there is a clear association between the sale of illegal vapes and sales to young people: “Retailers who do not check the provenance or MHRA notification status of vape products they sell are also unlikely to verify the age of customers in any meaningful way. We are pleased to see that this correlation is recognised by the Minister.

Backed by £3 million of government funding, a new ‘illicit vapes enforcement squad’ led by Trading Standards, will share knowledge and intelligence across regional networks and local authorities. It will undertake specific projects such as test purchasing in convenience stores and vape shops. It will also produce guidance to help build regulatory compliance and will have the power to remove illegal products from shops and at borders.”

The IBVTA says it has been calling for additional resources to help Trading Standards teams for some time: “We therefore applaud news of this announcement, which could not have come too soon. We also welcome a focus on effective enforcement at the UK’s borders. Both Trading Standards and the legitimate vape trade will benefit from the prevention of illegal products arriving on the UK market in the first place.”

Gillian Golden added: “The IBVTA looks forward to continuing to support enforcement agencies in tackling illicit trade and illegal products. They have, for too long, sullied the reputation of legitimate independent vaping businesses. They have also put a very negative spin on the general public’s understanding of our sector.

“Vaping is the most popular, effective, and cost-effective tool smokers use to quit. We welcome the Government’s continued recognition of the important role that reputable UK vape businesses play in driving down smoking rates.”

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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