New government consultation on smoking and nicotine products: Have your say
On Thursday, the Department of Health and Social Care published a new consultation on measures to tackle the issues presented by both smoking and vaping. The process will be in collaboration with the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The issues around vaping and other non-combustible nicotine products stem from fears that young people need to be protected from ‘becoming addicted to nicotine’.
The threats to consumers of safer nicotine products in this document are many. Options being consulted on by the government include:
·Taking a very hard line on vaping flavours, with suggestions to restrict the way flavours are described or to harshly limit which flavours can be sold. One suggestion is to only allow tobacco flavoured vapes.
·Mandating vaping products to be kept behind counter either on display or hidden like cigarettes. The document discusses a possible exemption for vape shops, not a definite one.
·Restricting or completely prohibiting attractive packaging for vaping products. Proposals go from banning child-friendly images right up to full plain packaging the same as cigarettes.
·Whether to prohibit sales of single use (disposable) vaping products and how it should be implemented. It includes a question asking which other products should also be banned.
·Including non-nicotine products in current legislation for nicotine containing vapes.
·Regulating nicotine pouches in the same manner as vaping products.
·Taxing vaping products to deter youth uptake.
·Dismissing the less harmful nature of heated tobacco products by including them in the proposed generational ban on sales of cigarettes to anyone born after 1 January, 2009.
The proposals also include introducing new powers for local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices for anyone found to be selling tobacco and nicotine products to minors, which includes proxy purchasing (an older person buying on behalf of a younger person).
Entitled Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping: your views, it consists of a consultation document and a series of questions and is open to all groups and individuals, with a closing date of 6 December.
The NNA will be submitting a response to the consultation in due course, but we hope all our supporters will recognise the importance of submitting individual responses too. Please do consider getting involved in this process and have your say.
Consumers and supporters of harm reduction are a powerful voice. In 2010, consumers successfully fended off very unwise government plans to strangle vaping at birth. Consumers from across Europe also fought an attempt by the European Union a decade ago to prohibit sales of vaping products except by medical prescription and won. It is time to step up and fight again.
NNA trustee, Michelle Jones, has written a very helpful guide on responding to the consultation, which you can read here.
You may also wish to read the NNA’s response to the government’s call for evidence which preceded this consultation in which we made many observations on the dangers of over-regulation in this area.