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The Great POTV 2023 Round-up Part 4

Managing to keep up? By now the mince pies will be sitting heavy and the thought of turkey leaving you nauseous. Relax and plough through the final three months of 2023 on POTV with some antacids

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So, the time has come to look at the final three months of 2023 on Planet of the Vapes. I’m sure that you’d been finding these articles as much fun as I have had writing them. Although, if you are me, and I am, I’m probably currently sitting by a barricade by the door in case “Si” didn’t see the funny side to the end of the last article. If you want to know what’s coming up, there’ll be politics, research papers, events happening and Elfbar being caught out for doing daft things again. Let’s go…

It's October

Hello,” say the Irish politicians. “We’re Irish politicians are we like to do dopey stuff.”

Don’t you mean ‘dope’ stuff, as in cool,” I casually respond in my head.

No,” they confirm, “we definitely mean dopey.”

Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced his intention to tighten regulation on vaping - including a ban of disposable vapes and a potential flavour ban. That’s as dopey as you can get. Well done, Steve. Seriously. Brilliant. *this is sarcasm, Si

President Joe American unveiled “an ambitious plan” to cut the cancer death rate in the USA in half. An ambitious plan that completely failed to make any mention of vaping.

Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers' Alliance, told us: "If President Biden is serious about beating cancer, then embracing tobacco harm reduction is not just an option, it's a necessity. Sweden and the United Kingdom are leading examples that have proven the effectiveness of vaping and other less harmful products in reducing smoking rates. Instead of fighting less harmful alternatives, the Biden Administration needs to embrace vaping as a smoking cessation aid."

Bad Joe, bad.

UK Vaping Industry Association Director General John Dunne told us he wholeheartedly endorsed the findings of A Vapid Solution: Why banning disposable e-cigarettes would be a failure of law-enforcement. He called it a well-researched and evidence-backed report which warns of the very serious unintended consequences that such a ban could have. Then, with barely a pause for breath, the Association launched its vape recycling information hub and Sustainable Vaping Week.

The first nine months had shifted the two trade bodies into action. Now it was all hands to the wheel to promote evidence, dispel myths, and urge everyone to get on board the sustainability bus. The Independent British Vape Trade Association played its part by launching a major public information campaign called “Cut Through The Smoke”.

The IBVTA told us: “With the government expected to launch a consultation on the future of vaping shortly, the UK’s leading trade association for the vaping industry today launches a major national public information campaign that will run for the next six months aimed at clearing the air of confusion around vaping whilst publishing new research that underlines the importance of vaping in helping smokers to quit.

The Sunak Plan

Or is it? Well, it was for the week it was launched and until a focus group feedback something negative or he realises it may lose even more votes. The plan that would inform the King’s speech to come. The plan to introduce a generational rolling ban on children being able to buy tobacco, a planned ban on disposables, e-liquid flavours and the use of colour in products and packaging. “A historic new law” to stop children who turn 14 this year or younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes in England.

And while vaping is an effective tool for adults quitting smoking, we are determined to tackle the concerning surge in children vaping, driven by marketing and flavouring which appears to specifically target young people” – Rishi Sunak

The PM went on to say they were actively looking at “restricting the flavours and descriptions of vapes so that vape flavours are no longer targeted at children”.

First, they came for the disposables, and I was not afraid for I did not use disposables.

Then they came for the flavours, and I really wish I’d spoken out about the whole disposables thing.

The response

The All Party Parliamentary Group and ASH weredelighted by the Prime Minister’s clear signal in his speech”.

Out of all the expert academics who spoke about the proposals, only Dr Debbie Robson, a Senior Lecturer in Tobacco Harm Reduction at King’s College London, mentioned the bits to do with vaping, saying: “it is vital that any new restrictions do not disadvantage people who have switched from smoking to vaping. If the PM truly wants to address the leading preventable cause of death, people who currently smoke need an alternative to cigarettes.”

The Independent British Vape Trade Association and the UK Vaping Industry Association were both cautious about the proposed vape measures.

Marcus Saxton, Chair of the IBVTA said: “Rather than the knee-jerk introduction of new regulations, existing legislation should be properly enforced, and responsible manufacturers and retailers properly supported, rather than reaching for the blunt instrument of policy measures that could have damaging consequences.”

UK Vaping Industry Association Director General John Dunne said: “We would also urge the Government not to implement further legislation when we already have appropriate legislation – we just need to enforce it properly. The UKVIA has been advocating for stronger measures to stop rogue retailers selling vapes to under-18s, including on the spot fines of up to £10,000 and a licensing scheme for retailers.

Vape retailer VPZ welcomed the PM’s plans but The World Vapers’ Alliance advised caution and said that the cigarette ban misses the point on reducing smoking rates.

A public consultation on youth vaping

People of all ages are being invited to take part in a public consultation seeking views on plans to crack down on youth vaping by reducing the appeal, affordability and availability of vapes to our children. The consultation launched today (Thursday 12 October) is open to anyone, of any age, in the UK and includes proposals to restrict child-friendly flavours and bright coloured packaging. People have eight weeks to share their experiences and opinions and help shape future policy on vaping and smoking,” the government announced.

What price the responses are treated in such a way as to support to aa ban on disposables, to limit vape packaging colours and to ban most e-liquid flavours?

The New Nicotine Alliance quickly warned about the many threats contained within the government’s consultation. The charity urged vapers to act: “Consumers and supporters of harm reduction are a powerful voice. In 2010, consumers successfully fended off very unwise government plans to strangle vaping at birth. Consumers from across Europe also fought an attempt by the European Union a decade ago to prohibit sales of vaping products except by medical prescription and won. It is time to step up and fight again.”

Did you do your bit?

The Association of Convenience Stores were miffed. They found it “unacceptable that responsible retailers are being undermined by others selling products that are already illegal, often to children.”

The ACS said the Chancellor could address this in his Autumn Statement by increasing funding to Trading Standards departments. He didn’t.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health published its tobacco control manifesto, strong on punishing tobacco companies and weak on vaping.

All aboard the Magic Roundabout

Come November, it was time for a whole new set of ministers in the Department of Health – because why not? Everyone knows that constant change in the great departments of state is always a great idea and leads to sound decision making and long-term implementation of plans. *Again, if you’re still reading Si, this is sarcasm

Andrew Stephenson replace Will Quince as health minister, Andrea Leadsom replaced Neil O’Brien as the junior health minister with a remit for vaping, and Victoria Atkins filled Steve Barclay’s shoes as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

With Atkins then linked to the largest sugar producing company in the UK and Leadsom being a signatory to a Bill to ban disposable vapes (and having shared myths in debates), we were finishing off the year in a political style we’ve all become wearily used to.


The UK Vaping Industry Association called on smokers, vapers and the wider industry to rally behind a national petition which urges the government against banning disposable vapes and flavours. Have you signed up?

The Independent British Vape Trade Association released new findings warning of the dangers of the government proposals and asked consumers to contribute to the teen vaping consultation. It warned that some of the proposals would be “excessive restrictions” and pose a risk to both the sector and public health.

What else happened in the vape industry?

The two key moments this final quarter were Vaporesso unveiling its Global Carbon Neutral Program and Smoore vowing not to work with brands who use flavour names, packaging or product designs “which are attractive to children”.

Now those kitted with a good memory will also recall Elfbar saying something about flavours and stuff but given what we are about to discover let’s just assume their announcement to drop flavours and descriptors is part of an ongoing and very funny (in China) elaborate prank. No sarcasm here one bit, Si, there is no other explanation for their consistent behaviour in breaching rules and regulations.

Step forward the Advertising Standards Authority

As we begin this final section, spare a moment to think of the poor soul in a dimly lit desk at a tobacco company who has spent the year doing nothing but look at TikTok posts in order to find adverts they could report to the Advertising Standards Authority. They’ve been working all hours and will probably be traumatised for life, never being able to hear certain pieces of music without imagining dancing dogs or prancing idiots in 10 second video clips.

Shut up, Dave, tell us who is first up!

Do you need to ask? Their first is in Elf, their second in Bar. It’s getting stupid now.

Then the Advertising Standards Authority ruled against influencers. If Rishi Sunak genuinely wanted to win the next election he’d ban TikTok and place anyone calling themselves an influencer under house arrest without access to the internet. Stick them on a flight to Africa – everyone would be lining up to drive them to the airport.

Relx, The Greatevape, and Daniels Vapes followed on. And, in our final week of normal news articles, Voopoo and Vaporesso received judgements against them.

Oh, hang on, I’ve forgotten one, can you guess who it is? We could make this a Christmas Quiz or something. Clearly I can’t afford to buy you all prizes so take five minutes and go wrap up one of those presents you really liked on Christmas Day.

Ready? OK, can you guess the final company who the Advertising Standards Authority ruled against for breaching YET AGAIN the advertising code on TikTok?

I’m not even going to announce it, you know the answer. Go ahead, open your prize, you winner you – unlike Elfbar who lost again.

Happy New Year

We hope you all had a wonderful time over the Christmas period and wish you all the best for 2024. See you next year!

Photo Credit:

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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