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The NNA and the Tobacco & Vapes Bill

The New Nicotine Alliance consumer organisation has submitted a comprehensive set of comments to the government committee on what is wrong with the UK Tobacco and Vapes Bill

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The New Nicotine Alliance consumer organisation has submitted a comprehensive set of comments to the government committee on what is wrong with the UK Tobacco and Vapes Bill. The submission ought to be considered by the Parliamentary Bill Committee scrutinising the new legislation – but in light of comments made by Andrea Leadsom MP it is highly likely the government will choose to ignore them and plough on regardless.

The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) address several key areas, detailing as to why the Tobacco and Vapes Bill is misguided:

The Smokefree Generation proposal

The NNA says: “The impact assessment severely overstates the benefits of the Smoke-free Generation measure. It makes unrealistic assumptions about future baseline smoking and related costs. It does not compare the proposed policy with the simpler and obvious alternative, which is to raise the age of sale from 18 to 21 for smoking products only. 

“This measure is directed at the ‘flow’ of potential new smokers. That flow is already dwindling to a trickle. The problem is the ‘stock’ of existing ageing smokers who are now facing significant health risks as they pass through their forties or older. This measure does not address that critical at-risk population.”

The vaping measures

The charity believes: “The assessment conceals the likely large detriments. The main issue with the Bill’s vaping policies is that unintended negative consequences have not been adequately defined and quantified or compared to intended benefits. The same fundamental problems apply to all the proposed vaping regulations, most of which will be done with minimal scrutiny via secondary legislation.

“In this case, poor relative risk estimates and a failure to use quantified estimates have meant the impact assessment conceals rather than reveals the likely scale of harm that would be done by placing significant restrictions on vaping products, given vapes function as low-risk alternatives to smoking. 

“Small increases in smoking arising from vaping restrictions have a high cost using the methods used in this impact assessment. A 0.1 percentage point change (e.g. from 12.9% to 13.0%) in smoking prevalence creates a cost of £3.5 billion using the method adopted in the impact assessment.”

The New Nicotine Alliance concluded: “The Tobacco and Vapes Bill reflects poor policy targeting and indifference to serious unintended consequences arising from the anti-vaping measures. In essence, the smoking policy misses the critical target population (middle-aged adult smokers), and the vaping policy compromises a vital harm reduction option with potentially high costs in net additional smoking. We hope scrutiny of the Bill will be undertaken with due scepticism and challenge to the government’s casual and implausible assumptions about the Bill’s impact.”

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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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