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VPZ and WVA Respond to Sunak Ban Plan

Vape retailer VPZ has welcomed the PM Rishi Sunak’s plans but The World Vapers’ Alliance cautions that the cigarette ban misses the point on reducing smoking rates

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As we’ve been covering this week, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has announced a generational smoking ban and restrictions on vaping aiming to prevent minors from accessing vaping products. In particular, during the Conservative party conference in Manchester, the PM vowed to scrutinise ‘flavours, packaging, displays and disposable vapes’. Vape retailer VPZ has welcomed the PM Rishi Sunak’s plans but The World Vapers’ Alliance cautions that the cigarette ban misses the point on reducing smoking rates.

VPZ’s Director Doug Mutter said: “At the moment we have a challenge in the industry where many imported, unregulated, disposable vaping products are readily available from local convenience stores, supermarkets and several other general retailers with no age verification checks or controls in place.

“The intent announced by the PM Rishi Sunak is long overdue and a progressive move which we hope will see targeted action on youth vaping and a clear focus on the irresponsible retailers which are supplying to youths throughout the country.

“This is the approach that we at VPZ has been calling for the UK Government to adopt for some time and we are pleased to see positive recognition in this area.

“Despite this we need to go further and we are urging the UK Government to act now and implement a progressive licensing and controls regime where an appropriate challenge 25 policy is in place and consultation is aimed towards adult smokers and vapers. It's also vitally important to follow best practices from countries like New Zealand, where flavoured products can only be sold from specialist licensed vaping stores."

The World Vapers’ Alliance takes a harsher line and rejects a generational smoking ban for those born after 2008 as a good smoking reduction tool.

It said: “While the intent might be to reduce smoking rates among the young, history has shown that bans always have unintended consequences, such as the proliferation of illicit markets. We believe there are more effective approaches to achieving this noble goal.”

Michael Landl, director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, commented: "While we share the ambition to further reduce smoking rates, imposing bans isn't the answer. We run the risk of creating a booming black market, pushing young adults toward illicit avenues. The UK's harm reduction strategy has been commendably effective. It's time to further amplify this approach by endorsing vaping, recognising nicotine pouches, and legalising snus, rather than resorting to bans."

The World Vapers’ Alliance says it is concerned about the announcement of restrictions on flavoured vaping products and disposable vapes and encourages the UK to keep its commitment to evidence-based harm reduction strategies and its position as a global leader in this domain.

Keeping disposable vapes and flavoured products on the market ensures that those wishing to transition away from smoking have every tool at their disposal. Banning flavours risks pushing vapers back to smoking or to the black market, and banning disposable vapes will prevent many smokers from trying vaping to quit. The United Kingdom has reduced smoking rates rapidly thanks to an open approach towards these products, but banning them will revert the progress made. Restrictions should aim to keep the products fully available for adults while away from minors,” Landl continued.

The World Vapers’ Alliance points to the United Kingdom’s “Swap-to-Stop'' program, and notes that embracing vaping has led to smoking rates falling twice as fast compared to the European Union and are at a record low among both adults and young people, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The proposed restrictions threaten to undermine those gains and put the United Kingdom at odds with its own best practices,” it concludes.

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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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