On June 10th vaping took centre stage in parliamentary discussions as MPs addressed the upcoming Tobacco Control Plan at Westminster. MP Mary Glindon championed e-cigarettes and the role they can play in reaching the Government’s goal of a Smokefree England by 2030.
About the debate
MPs from both parties made a strong case in support of vaping during the parliamentary debate, drawing on UKVIAs (UK Vaping Industry Association) ‘Blueprint for Better Regulation’ document offering recommendations from the vaping industry on how e-cigarettes can be used as a crucial tool on the journey to a Smokefree future. We discussed UKVIAs document in our recent post ‘Evapo push for better vaping regulation’.
Unlike many cross-party parliamentary debates, both parties agreed that e-cigarettes should play a crucial role in the Government’s plans. MP Mary Glindon discussed the huge opportunity that the UK has to implement new regulations that could propel us towards our goals for a Smokefree nation. She explains;
“The forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan presents an enormous opportunity to cement the UK as the global leader in tobacco harm reduction… Having left the EU, the Government must alongside the post implementation review of the Tobacco and Regulated Products Regulations (TRPR) set a clear direction for reducing smoking prevalence.”
She explains that implementing less harmful alternatives to smoking, like e-cigarettes, to their full potential is one of the best ways to proceed. Research is constantly showing that e-cigarettes are the most effective stop smoking aids currently available, and in 2017 over 50,000 adult smokers successfully made the switch from smoking to vaping.
MP Adam Afriyie adds;
“There is still ambiguity about whether or not vaping is a smoking cessation device or just another way of inhaling nicotine. The truth is, and this is clear from the evidence, it’s a smoking cessation device that woks and is twice as effective – if not higher than that – at helping smokers to cease smoking relative to the other treatments available.”
Glindon expressed her support for UKVIAs recommendations, and how they can benefit the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan. One of the primary recommendations is to tackle the misinformation that has become widely spread about the relative risks of e-cigarettes compared to smoking. In a recent report, the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) found that in 2020 42% of adult smokers incorrectly believed vaping to be either as harmful, or more harmful, than smoking. This misinformation could be preventing thousands of smokers from making the switch to a less harmful alternative.
One way that this could be dispelled is improved training and communication with healthcare professionals. An example of this is the A&E trials, in which patients in selected areas will be offered stop smoking information and even an e-cigarette starter kit if they express interest in quitting smoking. It is expected that being offered this information in an NHS location will help reassure people that e-cigarettes are not only less harmful, but also an effective and recognized stop smoking aid.
MP David Jones raises this point by saying;
“Continuing to raise awareness of those products is also key. E-cigarettes and the use of other alternatives saves lives and we should make sure that message reaches every smoker in Britain… E-cigarettes are hugely important in the fight against smoking and I commend NHS England for promoting them to smokers. It’s based on evidence and has a proven positive effect on the health of the nation.”
It is great to see the benefits of vaping as a smoking cessation tool being discussed in a public forum.