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Experts reacted to the Tobacco and Vapes Bill

Scientists have given their reactions to MPs debating and passing the Tobacco and Vapes Bill – with crowing comments from anti-vape activists

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The Government now moves its Tobacco and Vapes Bill towards implementation following its successful debate and vote in the House of Commons. Despite a handful of Conservative MPs rejecting the Bill, the Government won the day with the support of opposition parties. Scientists have given their reactions to the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

Professor Stephen Holgate, MRC Clinical Professor Of Immunopharmacology & Honorary Consultant Physician, University of Southampton, said: “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the UK. In adults aged 35 and over tobacco smoking causes at least half a million hospital admissions and 75,000 deaths each year. For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with one of so many serious smoking-related illnesses. The prime minister’s pledge to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes would have a truly transformative effect on the health of the next generation. What an amazing legacy this would be where the Nation’s future health comes before any other interests.”

Professor Martin McKee is a Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. From confessing he knew nothing about vaping in 2013 to claiming it leads to cocaine use, McKee has be an outspoken voice of ignorance and misinformation on tobacco harm reduction. He said: “The tobacco industry and their clients are resurrecting all the old arguments that we have come to expect in their efforts to delay and divert this important legislation. Once again we see loaded polling questions and discredited claims about increasing illegal sales. Inevitably these ludicrous arguments will have some traction among MPs that reject any public health measure or have accepted the industry’s hospitality but most will, rightly, not give them the time of day.”

The omission of commas in his statement mirrors the omission of facts in almost everything he says on the subject.

Professor John Iredale FMedSci, Professor of Experimental Medicine, University of Bristol, said that smoking is bad and causes death and disease – important to anyone who might not know that.

Professor Tara Spires-Jones, President of the British Neuroscience Association and Group Leader at the UK Dementia Research at the University of Edinburgh added: “From a neuroscience perspective, smoking has long-term negative effects on brain health including an association with increased risk of dementia.  Stopping smoking even later in life is associated with reducing dementia risk. The proposed legislation to create a smokefree generation is likely to reduce the number of people who have dementia in the future.”

The final three offer comments of interest. All have been responsible for research demonstrating the benefits and efficacy of switching to vaping, but this legislation is set to ban disposables, restrict flavours, and will run in tandem with a tax on vape products.

University of East Anglia’s Professor Caitlin Notley said the bill offers up a major opportunity for “to completely change the trajectory of tobacco related disease, by focusing on prevention.”

She didn’t mention the attack on harm reduction.

Professor Lion Shahab stated: “When cigarettes first became popular at the beginning of the last century, few could have predicted that smoking would kill 100 million people by the end of the it, and that it continues to kill more than 8 million people each year, including over 75,000 people in the UK. By creating a product that is both highly addictive and deadly, the tobacco industry has caused untold misery far and wide.”

By passing the new bill, he believes Parliament has “put the UK at the very forefront of the fight to eradicate one of the most harmful inventions of modern times and protect the future of the next generation to allow them to live a full life, unencumbered by preventable cancers, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.”

Again, no mention of the impact on vaping.

Finally, Professor Ann McNeill, responsible for all of the Government’s evidence updates about vaping, sadly commented: “We have known for decades just how uniquely deadly smoking is, but this knowledge has not been acted upon. The Tobacco and Vapes Bill is a once in a lifetime opportunity to put this right and see the end of tobacco smoking in a generation. We should all come together and support it.”

Not a word about the evidence-free attack on vaping.

Photo Credit:

  • Photo by Kristina Gadeikyte on Unsplash

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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