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Expand THR Regs For Kids Call

A tobacco harm reduction campaigner has called for Government regulation of nicotine pouches to protect children – and further slash smoking rates in the UK

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A tobacco harm reduction campaigner has called for Government regulation of nicotine pouches to protect children – and further slash smoking rates in the UK. In a hand-delivered letter to the Department of Health, Considerate Pouchers UK director Richard Crosby explained the move would quicken the demise of cigarettes and add weight to Westminster’s Swap to Stop vaping initiative.

Richard Crosby said expanding regulations would prevent under-18s from accessing pouches and solve the problem of children becoming addicted to nicotine through smoking cessation tools.

In his letter to Health Minister Neil O’Brien, Mr Crosby said: “Nicotine pouches show great promise as a potential harm reduction tool for those who currently smoke or might choose to do so in the future. It is therefore essential to ensure their responsible use and availability to the appropriate age groups.”

Currently, 80,000 people still die from preventable smoking-related diseases each year.

And while 4.3million people in the UK now vape, more needs to be done if the government is to reach its 2030 smoke-free target.

The answer could lie in nicotine pouches, which have already been embraced by Sweden, the only country in Europe with smoke-free status, Mr Crosby said.

He added: “By incorporating nicotine pouches into existing smoking cessation programs, we can offer an additional tool that may prove effective for some individuals seeking to overcome their addiction. This approach would complement the range of evidence-based cessation methods already in place such as vaping, promoting individual choice and diversifying the options available to those on their path to a smoke-free life.”

The Government has said it is serious about eradicating smoking. Its Swap to Stop initiative - announced in April – will see one million smokers given vaping starter kits, while pregnant women will receive cash incentives of up to £400 to quit cigarettes.

The move followed last year’s Khan report, which recommended vaping should be promoted as a means to help people stop using tobacco.

But nicotine pouches - which sit behind the top lip without the odour or combustion associated with cigarettes - were overlooked as an additional, widely available, safer alternative. This omission, Mr Crosby said, should be addressed.

Crosby added: “We urge the British Government to introduce legislation that establishes a legal age of purchase for nicotine pouches at 18 years or older. This step would align

with existing regulations governing tobacco and other nicotine-containing products,

promoting consistency in our efforts to make sure these products are only for adults.”

Mr Crosby’s approach would also align with new Government measures to crack down on minors accessing illicit e-cigarettes.

In April it announced an “illicit vapes enforcement squad”, led by Trading Standards and backed by £3m in funding, to seize banned products from shops and at borders.

Some 5.4 million people in England smoke tobacco. Up to 2 out of 3 lifelong smokers will die from smoking, which also makes up 25% of all cancer deaths.

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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