Charity Leaders Warn Vape Flavour Ban Could Halt Quitters

The British Heart Foundation and Asthma and Lung UK worry vape restrictions could prevent quitters from maintaining the stop smoking tool.

Earlier this month members of parliament met with health and education experts to discuss the laws included within the tobacco and vapes bill.

Proceedings centred around the health implications of smoking and underage vaping. Experts from ASH England and Scotland called for restrictions on packaging and flavours. In the hopes, it will stop vapes from being attractive to children.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) argued that restrictions on flavours “is a difficult clause to implement…and has got to be done with care”.

The chief executive utilised Canada’s restrictions on sweet flavours as an example of how the UK could positively implement measures.

Instead of banning sweet e-liquids altogether, the Canadanian Government introduced laws on product packaging. All vapes are to be sold in white packaging, with black sans text, and mustn’t include images indicating a kit’s flavour.

These measures aim to make vaping less accessible and desirable to children.
Experts worry that if the UK authorities heavily restrict e-liquids and don’t implement similar measures it may reverse quitters’ habits.

Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive officer of Asthma and Lung UK, stated:

“We really need to have vaping as a cessation tool. If you make the flavouring too problematic for people to wean, we may have a real problem with people stopping smoking”.

Further, Dr Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation stated:

“I hope it’s clear that vaping is a cessation tool and will help people quit smoking. What we are worried about is people using it as a starting point”.

“We support the bill exactly as it is at the moment. It’s a really clear path to a generation who can’t purchase cigarettes and therefore begin smoking”.

How will vape flavour restrictions affect quitters?
According to the NHS, nicotine vaping is an important cessation tool in stopping smoking.

The IBTVA’s research revealed from 2013 to 2023 vaping has helped between 50,000 and 70,000 UK smokers quit each year.

However the body worry that the Government’s u-turn on vaping product laws could cause serious decreases in UK quitters.

IBVTA Chairman and TECC CEO Marcus Saxton said:

“Excessive restrictions on the types of products that our members can provide may reduce the products’ appeal, but even worse, may contribute to continued misperceptions about the harm of vaping relative to tobacco smoking.”

Specifically, the role of flavours in supporting adult smokers to a successful quit attempt is extensive and widespread, and therefore any reference to potential powers to permit future legislation around their use is extremely worrying, and threatening to the government’s own goals of becoming smoke free by 2030.”

In 2022 research by the University of Bristol found that 14% of quitters who vape will quit the habit if the UK Government place restrictions on e-liquids .

Dr Jasmine Khouja, Senior Research Associate in the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group at the University of Bristol revealed:

“At a population level, this equates to more than half a million smokers and ex-smokers not smoking due to flavoured e-liquid availability. Around 36,000 of those non-smoking youth might subsequently smoke as a result of flavoured e-liquid availability.

“This output suggests that restricting flavoured e-liquids in the UK could have a negative overall impact on public health .”

Despite the proven positive effects for ex-smokers, many authorities worry about non smokers picking up the habit.

The specific number of people in England who are non-smokers who use vaping products is uncertain. But it is likely to be between 320,000 and 840,000 .

In 2023 ASH found 2.7 million quitters vape.

What Happens Next?
The Tobacco and Vapes Bill meeting was simply the Government gaining further understanding of how smoking and vaping affect the UK’s health and communities. This information will help MPs make informed decisions when deciding what restrictions the bill will put in place.