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The final vape and tobacco harm reduction related questions for 2023 from Parliament

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Preet Kaur Gill and Kwasi Kwarteng have delivered the final questions about vaping and tobacco harm reduction in the House of Commons. Andrea Leadsom and Robert Jenrick gave the responses and now we wait for the New Year to discover how the government intends to alter its approach to vapes – and whether it has any time or energy left to implement them.

Preet Kaur Gill, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Primary Care and Public Health, asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care if the government is going to make an estimate of the number of hospital admissions there have been as a result of lung injuries related to e-cigarette or vaping product usage in each of the last 10 years.

Andrea Leadsom, in her new post as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health, responded that the Department is not able to answer the question within the usual time period.

An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available,” she said.

Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister followed up by asking the Secretary of how many fines have been issued by Trading Standards to retail outlets for the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products in each of the last 10 years.

In what is becoming a trend for Andrea Leadsom, she said that information is not held centrally, and she would therefore be unable to provide a response.

However,” she added, “the Department has previously commissioned various reports into the compliance of tobacco and vaping legislation, which was led by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.”

Now it was time for ex-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng to ask the Secretary of State for Health a question. He wondered if there were plans to raise awareness of the levels of nicotine in and the risk of addiction from vape devices.

Andrea Leadsom told Kwarteng: “Vaping is substantially less harmful than cigarettes and one of the most effective cessation aids, however due to the addictive nicotine content and the unknown long-term harms it is not recommended for children and non-smokers.

“As part of the requirements under Tobacco and Related Product Regulations 2016, every nicotine vape packet must contain a health warning, ‘warning: this product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance’. Requirements also limit nicotine strength to 20mg/ml and limit refill bottle and tank sizes.

“The NHS Better Health website provides information and advice on using vapes to quit smoking and includes advice on how to quit vaping.

“The Government launched a consultation in October 2023 seeking views on our plans to crack down on youth vaping by reducing the appeal, availability and affordability of vapes to our children.”

Finally, Preet Kaur Gill asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many vape and tobacco products were seized at UK borders in each of the last 10 years.

She seems to have a thing about 10 years.

Robert Jenrick, in his swansong performance as the Minister for Immigration, replied: “Border Force does not hold data on e-cigarettes and vaping in an easily accessible format. Border Force regularly publishes data on tobacco products seized at the UK border.”

Thanks for the informative response, Mr Jenrick. You’ll be missed.

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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