Vaping News

Election '24: The Politics of Vaping

Whisper it, the United Kingdom goes to the polls tomorrow (Thursday 4 July) – yes, this probably comes as a surprise – but where do the parties stand on vaping and tobacco harm reduction?

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In what will be known in future years as an election that took place in the United Kingdom in 2024, the country is set to decide who will govern us for the next five years. Voting begins at 7am on Thursday 4 July and continues through to 10pm. Regular readers will know what the Conservatives have been trying to do to vaping over the last year, but we look at what all the major runners might want to do in the future.

How the General Election works

Every adult has a single vote which they can cast for one of their local candidates. In total, the UK will elect 650 new MPs. Most candidates will represent one of the parties in this article – but you may have the opportunity to choose someone from a smaller party or who is standing as an independent.

The Electoral Commission points out:

To vote at the UK general election you must be registered to vote and:

  • 18 years of age or over on polling day
  • be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen
  • be resident at an address in the UK (or a UK citizen living abroad who has previously been registered to vote in the UK or has lived in the UK)
  • not be legally excluded from voting

The following cannot vote in a UK Parliament election:

  • members of the House of Lords
  • EU citizens (other than the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta) resident in the UK
  • anyone other than British, Irish and qualifying Commonwealth citizens
  • convicted persons detained in pursuance of their sentences, excluding contempt of court (though remand prisoners, unconvicted prisoners and civil prisoners can vote if they are on the electoral register)
  • anyone found guilty within the previous five years of corrupt or illegal practices in connection with an election

Full details of all the major parties’ manifestos can be found using the links at the foot of the page.

What do the parties mean for vaping and tobacco harm reduction?

The Labour Party -

Labour have echoed comments made during the introduction of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, pledging to “stop children and young people being exposed to the harmful effects of tobacco and vaping”.

Stating that it supports the rolling age-related ban on being able purchase cigarettes, the Party adds: “Labour will ban vapes from being branded and advertised to appeal to children to stop the next generation from becoming hooked on nicotine.”

There is no direct mention of an intention to restrict vape flavours.

The Conservative Party -

The Tobacco and Vapes Bill offered clear insight into what the Conservatives would do if they win enough votes to be returned as the governing party. Although the Bill failed to be included in the “wash up” after the election was called, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to return to it after the election.

The Bill proposed to:

  • Create powers to restrict flavours to mint, menthol, tobacco and “fruit”
  • Restrictions would be placed on where vapes are displayed in stores
  • Restrictions would be placed on packaging design
  • Restrictions would be placed on branding
  • Further restrictions would be placed on advertising and promotion
  • Disposable/single use vapes would be banned

The Lib Dem Party -

The Lib Dems want to prevent children from taking up vaping but the Party does adopt a position, “recognising their [vapes] role in smoking cessation for adults.

The Lid Dems explicitly mention that it would implement or support a Bill that bans disposable/single use vapes.

The Party believes in the restrictions on branding, packaging and advertising contained within the Conservative’s Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

The Reform Party -

Reform make no mention of smoking, vaping or tobacco harm reduction in the health section of its manifesto.

Previously, Nigel Farage said: "I think the doctors have got it wrong on smoking."

Also, responding to the World Health Organisation stating that smoking kills over 7 million people a year, he said: “The World Health Organisation is just another club of 'clever people' who want to bully us and tell us what to do.”

It is highly unlikely that Reform would want to place any restrictions on vape products.

The Green Party -

The Greens do not address smoking or vaping in the manifesto, but Caroline Lucas was very supportive of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, writing on Twitter: “There's only one loser if we succeed in passing this bill and it's Big Tobacco. We have the chance to take a giant leap forward for UK public health by wiping out smoking in a generation. We should take it.”

The Scottish National Party -

The SNP make no reference to vaping in the manifesto, but it supportsa ban on disposable vapes because of their adverse impact on the environment and young people’s health in particular.”

The SNP’s Kirsten Oswald has campaigned to ban vape sponsorship deals with sports clubs – such as Totally Wicked’s shirt sponsorship with Blackburn Rover FC.

The SNP has also spoken in support of restricting vape flavours and enforcing plain packaging.

The Plaid Cymru Party -

Plaid make no direct mention of vaping in their manifesto, but the Party does have a Stop Cancer Strategy.

The Party expressed its concern about “the growing and concerning problem of young people vaping” last year. 

Councillor Elin Hywel said: “Vaping has been utilised very effectively by the NHS as a method of reducing or eliminating dependency on cigarettes in heavy smokers. However more recently vaping itself has become a go to for youngsters. Attractive advertising and targeting of our youth by vaping companies is a very real problem across Wales, unfortunately with unknown long term health implications.”


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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